Creamy Saffron Pasta made with tagliatelle noodles is one of our favourite easy vegetarian Italian recipes.
This recipe is quick and easy to make since we’ve used store bought tagliatelle pasta. If you call yourself gourmet, we also share info on how to make handmade tagliatelle in your kitchen from scratch.
Toss al dente tagliatelle in our homemade creamy saffron pasta sauce and the delicious dish will be on the table ready to eat in under an hour!
Your family will love forking through this healthy pasta dish featuring flavourful milk, cream, saffron threads, dry sherry, butter, pecorino cheese, ricotta cheese and fresh mint.
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What Is Saffron?
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. The vivid crimson stigma and styles, called threads, are collected by hand then dried for use mainly as a seasoning and colouring agent in food.
Saffron has long been the world’s most expensive spice by weight. Dishes prepared with saffron are often considered decadent and luxurious due to the cost, often sold for US$5,000 per kg or higher.
The high retail value of saffron is maintained on world markets because of labour-intensive harvesting methods, which require some 440,000 hand-picked saffron stigmas per kilogram. Forty hours of labour are required to pick 150,000 flowers.
Although some doubts remain on its origin, it is believed that saffron originated in Iran. However, Greece and Mesopotamia have also been suggested as the possible region of origin of the plant. Saffron crocus slowly propagated throughout much of Eurasia and was later brought to parts of North Africa, North America, and Oceania.
Saffron’s taste and hay-like fragrance result from the phytochemicals picrocrocin and safranal. It contains a carotenoid pigment, crocin, which imparts a rich golden-yellow hue to dishes and textiles. Its recorded history is attested in a 7th-century BC Assyrian botanical treatise, and has been traded and used for thousands of years. In the 21st century, Iran produces some 90% of the saffron in the world.
In Italy, saffron is predominantly cultivated in Marche, Abruzzo and the island of Sardinia, however it is also cultivated in parts of Umbria, Tuscany and Basilicata. Italian Saffron, specifically L’Aquila saffron from the Abruzzo region, is the most sought after strain of this rare spice.
Travel to Italy by Cooking Saffron Tagliatelle Pasta at Home
I love traveling to Europe!
During my first visit to the continent I traveled for 5 months by train and plane. I had the opportunity to eat my way through Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland,Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Czech, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey and Italy.
What I love most about traveling to Italy is the opportunity to sample unique dishes in each region and city. The dishes in Tuscany (Florence, Pisa, Volterra, Saturnia, Pitigliano, Sorano, Montalcino, Siena) are unique from what you’d find in Venice, Modena, Milan, Rome, and Amalfi Coast.
Rich and creamy Saffron Pasta is best prepared with tagliatelle noodles during the spring and summer months. The eye-popping dish is dressed to impress for a dinner party, garnished with dollops of ricotta cheese and fresh mint leaves.
Once back home from an Italian holiday you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the flavours of Italy and can impress friends and family by making our healthy Saffron Tagliatelle recipe!
Where To Eat Saffron Pasta
Haven’t traveled to Italy before? It may be helpful to first sample Saffron Tagliatelle at a local Italian restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can also assess the ideal noodle to saffron sauce ratio, serving size and side dishes to serve at the table.
In Toronto, popular Italian restaurants in Yorkville, King West and Ossington that may serve Saffron Pasta include Bar Vendetta, Buca, Superpoint, Amano, Fabbrica, Oretta, FIGO, Nodo, Locale Mercatto, The Good Son, Taverna Mercatto, Ascari Enoteca, Il Fornello or Gusto 101.
My Family Loves Cooking Saffron Tagliatelle
I love cooking Saffron Tagliatelle for my family.
I first made this homemade Italian pasta dish on a warm summer evening at our family cottage in Muskoka. It was the peak of Ontario harvest season and we had plenty of fresh mint to pluck from our backyard herb garden.
While you can prepare this main course year round, the light and bright dish is ideal for spring and summer outdoor dining on a balcony or patio.
I knew my family would enjoy this healthy vegetarian saffron pasta recipe because they love Italian noodle dishes, creamy sauces, mountains of cheese, and fresh mint.
My father and I bought several boxes of saffron on a trip to Morocco because they sell for half the price of what we would have to pay back home. If you’ve got a box of saffron hiding in your back cupboard or in your spice cabinet this is a great recipe to use it up!
Saffron Pasta Health Benefits
Our Saffron Pasta recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Consuming dairy products (such as milk and cheese) provides health benefits — especially improved bone health. Dairy foods provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.
Fresh mint is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and can have a calming effect on the digestive system. It is also a good source of folate, which supports blood health.
Eggs contain two vital nutrients that are not present in many foods: iodine and vitamin D. Eggs are also rich in tissue-building protein and vitamin B12, which helps your body manufacture blood cells.
Whole wheat flour is rich in vitamins B-1, B-3, and B-5, along with riboflavin and folate. It also has more iron, calcium, protein, and other nutrients than white flour.
Saffron Tagliatelle Cooking Tips
This healthy vegetarian pasta recipe is quick and easy to make at home.
- Use a high quality nonstick skillet to prepare the creamy saffron pasta sauce to avoid splatter when cooking.
- You can purchase dried tagliatelle pasta noodles on Amazon or at a local Italian grocer.
- If you call yourself gourmet feel free to make homemade tagliatelle for this recipe.
- We’ve used dry sherry in the saffron pasta sauce but you could substitute for marsala, sweet vermouth or dry white wine.
- We’ve used pecorino cheese in the pasta sauce but you could substitute for other aged cheeses like Gruyere, Parmigiano Reggiano, Manchego, Beemster XO or Mimolette.
- We’ve used dollops of fresh ricotta cheese to garnish the dish but you could substitue with boursin or torn pieces of burrata mozzarella.
- We’ve used fresh mint in this saffron pasta recipe but you could substitute for a mixture of chopped chives and basil.
What To Serve With Saffron Pasta
There’s nothing more comforting than cozying up to a bowl of creamy Saffron Pasta.
If you’re hosting an Italian-themed dinner party we suggest serving Saffron Tagliatelle as part of a buffet featuring Cheesy Polenta, Involtini di Pollo, Sartu Di Riso Italian Baked Risotto, Vegetarian Gorgonzola Risotto al Radicchio, Roast Chicken and Leek Risotto, Fig Prosciutto Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Burrata Bruschetta Crostini , Aperol Gin Cocktail, Italian Prosecco and Gin Cocktail and Amaretto Disaronno Sour.
For a light lunch or dinner, pair this Saffron pasta recipe with fresh salads like Vegetarian Roasted Pumpkin Feta Salad, Roasted Beetroot Salad, Garlic Lemon Chickpea Avocado Salad, Toasted Pecan Parmesan Pear and Rocket Salad, Cambozola Currant Pear and Fennel Salad, Romaine Salad With Tahini Caesar Dressing, or Fennel, Apple, Celery and Roasted Hazelnut Salad.
After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Kardemummabullar Swedish Cardamom Buns , Gevulde Speculaas, Turmeric Pumpkin Spice Indian Cake, Chewy Easter Toffee Cadbury Mini Egg Cookie Bars, Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes Recipe or Cinnamon Babka.
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How To Make Saffron Tagliatelle Pasta Recipe
Ricotta and Mint Saffron Pasta
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- cheese grater
- Nonstick Skillet
- Large pot
- 1/4 cup Milk
- 1/2 cup Table Cream
- 1/2 tsp Saffron Threads
- 1 tbsp Dry Sherry
- Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Cheese grated
- 250 g Tagliatelle Pasta
- 1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
- 1/4 cup Fresh Mint
- In a liquid measuring cup, microwave the milk, cream and saffron until warm, about 1 minute. Stir then cool to infuse.
- In a large skillet whisk together the saffron cream, dry sherry and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Add the butter and simmer on low heat for 5-7 minutes to thicken. Stir in the pecorino cheese until the sauce is velvety and smooth.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss in the saffron cream sauce.
- Divide saffron pasta into 4 bowls. Top Saffron Tagliatelle with dollops of fresh ricotta cheese and mint leaves. Serve immediately.
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