Saffron pasta dough
Saffron’s origins are in the Middle East. But the fragrant, red-gold spice, which is harvested from the flower of the Crocus sativus plant, has been cultivated in Abruzzo’s Navelli plain, in the province of L’Aquila, for more than five hundred years, since a Dominican friar introduced it there on his return from Andalusia. Adding saffron to pasta turns the dough a rich gold and adds a subtle earthy flavor. I toss fresh cut saffron tagliatelle with Lamb Ragù. But the noodles are also delicious simply dressed with melted butter and Parmigiano Reggiano, with a few whole saffron threads tossed in for color. Saffron pasta dough also makes wonderful cheese-stuffed ravioli or cannelloni.
Portions: Makes about 1 lb-455g
- 2 to 2 1/4 cups-255 to 285 g 00 flour or unbleached all purpose plain flour
- 1 tbsp semolina flour, plus more dusting the work surface
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 3 extra large eggs
- 1/4 tsp saffron threads, pounded to a powder
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
Put 2 cups/255 g 00 flour, the 1 tbsp semolina flour, and salt in a food processor. Pulse briefly to combine. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the pounded saffron. Turn on the machine and slowly pour the eggs and then the 1 tbsp olive oil through the feed tube and pulse just until the mixture starts to form crumbs that look like small curds. Pinch together a bit of the mixture and roll it around. It should form a soft ball. If the mixture seems dry, add a few more drops of oil and pulse briefly. If it seems too wet and sticky, add additional flour, 1 tbsp at a time, and pulse briefly. Turn the mixture out onto a clean work surface sprinkled lightly with semolina flour and press it together with your hands to form a rough ball. Knead the dough: Using the palm of your hand, push the dough gently but firmly away from you, and then fold it over toward you. Rotate the dough a quarter turn, and repeat the pushing and folding motion. Continue kneading for several minutes until the dough is smooth and silky. Form it into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap/cling film. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.