Recipe: Linguine with Saffron Sauce
Use only deep red saffron thread to make this sauce.
Q. At an Italian restaurant in New York City, the special of the day was linguine with shrimp in a cream sauce that was incredible. The sauce was a bright yellow, which made me think it was made with egg yolks, but I haven't been able to find any Italian recipes for this type sauce. Do you have one? — K. B.
A. My guess is you were served a saffron sauce, popular in Northern Italy and also in Bordeaux. A friend recently brought me saffron she bought in Florence, so I was happy to make this with wonderfully fresh threads. When you buy saffron — which is astoundingly expensive — you want threads that are deep red. If there are yellow parts, they have little or no flavor. The threads should be so dry they will pound into powder easily, and they should give off a distinct aroma with no taint of mustiness.
I like to serve this sauce with lightly sauteed shrimp, scallops or other seafood tossed with linguine. But my absolute favorite is over fresh lobster ravioli.
Linguine with Saffron Sauce
Makes 6 servings
2 quarts (8 cups) chicken or vegetable broth
1 shallot, very finely diced
2 to 3 threads saffron, chopped or crumbled
1 cup heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled
1 pound linguine or other pasta, cooked al dente and thoroughly drained
Fresh parsley, chopped
1 small tomato, finely chopped, optional
Shaved Parmesan or Asiago cheese, optional
1. Bring the broth to a simmer in a saucepan. Add the shallot and saffron. Keeping broth at a simmer, allow it to reduce to about 1 1/2 cups. Stir in the cream and reduce sauce to the thickness you like. Add the butter a tablespoon at a time, whisking to incorporate.
2. Toss the pasta with the sauce to thoroughly coat. Garnish with parsley, tomatoes and cheese and serve immediately.
Per serving: 610 calories (50 percent from fat), 33.3 g fat (19.4 g saturated, 9 g monounsaturated), 95.3 mg cholesterol, 17.1 g protein, 59.4 g carbohydrates, 1.6 g fiber, 1,053 mg sodium.
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