The idea of a saffron pasta isn’t my own. A few months ago, I bought some pappardelle flavored with saffron at World Market.
But then I thought of you, and that perhaps you didn’t have access to such a flavored pasta and I decided to make you some. So far this year, I’ve made quite a few flavored pastas, including chocolate, and citrus tarragon. It starts with my basic semolina pasta recipe, which is always the same 1 cup flour, 2 eggs, a touch of salt. It’s that simple. It’s the “rest and dry” secret that makes the difference.
Roll pasta toward center.
Cut into long noodles.
Dry pasta prior to boiling.
Semolina flour has become my flour of choice for pasta, especially when I want a firmer texture. I was excited a few months ago, when I discovered a boxed semolina pasta flour that had been ground very fine. Frustrated that the store no longer stocks it, I headed to Whole Foods to buy course organic semolina out of the open bin and experiment. I put the flour in the food processor, stuck to the “rest and dry” rules, it worked out so well, I’ll never look for special “pasta flour” again. Some pasta makers mix semolina with all purpose flour, but I don’t think that is necessary. You CAN use all-purpose flour; however, I think the texture is too soft, more like egg noodles, and doesn’t have enough bite or body.
No one told me to DRY THE PASTA. Just like I didn’t know that pasta dough should rest for 30 minutes, I didn’t know that it needed to dry for at least 30 minutes also. These two non-action verbs are important to pasta to the controlling the outcome. Resting and drying takes a little patience and if you’re like me, one who cooks impulsively following a whim or idea, it may take a little discipline. But the rewards are worth it.
I dried this particular pasta in nest shapes on a white cloth, and it cooked perfectly at 4 minutes.
Bolognese sauce is especially good on homemade pasta. Recipe coming soon. You can see how nice and tender (and NOT gummy) this pasta looks.
Using same pasta recipe, another shape.
- 1 cup semolina flour (if course, run through food processor)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon saffron
- 2 eggs
- all purpose flour for dusting
- Place flour on large hard surface that has been floured.
- Add salt, Add saffron threads, evenly distributing.
- Make a well in center. Add one egg at a time, using a fork to whisk the flour into egg mixture.
- Knead with hands until fully incorporated. Dough will be sticky, so use some flour to be able to form into a ball. Flatten out a bit, cover with a damp towel to keep from drying.
- Rest for 30 minutes.
- Do NOT skip this step. At this point, you can refrigerate.
- Roll out, and take through pasta machine up to the thinnest number that doesn’t break up. My pasta machine goes to number 9. I was able to go to number 8, and still have smooth, intact pasta. Cut pasta in ribbons or make whatever shape you prefer.
- Cutting the Pasta
- Before rolling up to cut, allow pasta to sit a few minutes to dry. Once cut, unroll immediately and continue to the drying process.
- Pasta without the saffron. This was extra long so I rolled each end up to center. Cut across and then cut in strips as photo shows below.
- Drying the Pasta
- Dry the pasta either in nests or in strips on clean cloth. This will make the pasta easier to cook, and reduce chance of sticking.