Pasta with a Saffron Mascarpone Sauce
Because of L’Aquila’s proximity to the Navelli Valley, where precious saffron is harvested, there is a great flavor and color influence in several of their dishes. I have made this saffron-kissed sauce with mascarpone, but don’t be afraid to try it with ricotta or soft cheeses that you enjoy. I have also made this with artichokes in place of zucchini or with other pasta shapes. Be creative—and have fun!
Total Timeunder 1 hour
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Texturecreamy, rich, savory, spiced
Type of Dishdry pasta, pasta
- 1 pound rigatoncini pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 zucchini, very thinly sliced
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 pinch saffron
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese
- ½ cup grated fresh mozzarella
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Add the saffron. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes. Lower the heat and stir in the mascarpone, fresh mozzarella, and grated cheese.
Using a large pot, cook the pasta according to package instructions until it is al dente. Drain the pasta, but reserve about ¼ cup of the pasta water. Add the mascarpone mixture, along with the remaining butter, and toss to combine. Add the reserved pasta water slowly, as needed, to make the sauce a bit creamier.
2010 Maria Filice