Search This Blog

Friday, January 22, 2010

Saffron Pasta with Pork and Tomato Sauce

I have been trying to change up some of my cooking because I feel like I am stuck in a "seasonal" rut!  Since it is so cold here in the Chicagoland area and we have snow and ice on the ground it makes sense to want to cook and eat more hearty and cozy meals...right?  But...the predicament that I am in is that "hearty" food does not necessarily me good for your heart food.  Usually I cook seasonally. I cook stews, pot pies, soups, casseroles, braises, roasts, the fall and winter.  During summer you really don't feel like eating something that has been cooking in the oven or the stove for 5 hours.  You want grilled goodness and freshness galore!  But...why can't we change our thinking?  Who says we can only cook hearty and stick to your ribs meals in the winter....who says we can't grill up chicken, shish kabob some shrimp on the indoor grill, stir up some island flavors?  Tonight I spent about 3 hours flipping through my Bon Appetits disregarding the month stamped on the front cover.  I flipped through and marked the recipes that looked like something I would like to make.  The first of these recipes, Saffron Pasta with Ground Pork &  Tomato Sauce, came from the May 2002 issue of Bon Appetite.  This particular issue was based on the cusine of the Meditteranean Islands and this recipe was from the island of Sardinia. This is a start for me....sure it is still a pasta dish...but the recipe came from a sunny island in the Medditeranean!  Hey if we can't be there...why not pretend to be there right!


Malloreddus, the saffron-flavored pasta shaped like gnocchi, is a Sardinian specialty. For convenience, I used dried orecchiette and as the recipe called for added saffron to the pasta cooking water.

*Makes 6 to 8 first-course servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 12 ounces  orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1 cup freshly grated pecorino Sardo or pecorino Romano cheese (about 3 ounces)


Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta; sauté until fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Add onion and parsley and sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add ground pork and sauté until brown, breaking up with back of fork, about 8 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, and sage. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce thickens and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Chill uncovered 1 hour. Then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over low heat.)

Meanwhile, bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and saffron and cook until pasta is just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Return pasta to pot. Add sauce and 1/2 cup cheese and toss to blend. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and serve.

** I know this is called "Saffron" pasta...but saffron is really expensive and to be honest with cannot even taste the saffron very much in this dish.  I added a little bit of the saffron pasta water (about 1/4 cup) to the sauce...just to kick up the saffron flavor a bit.

*Recipe & Photo # 1 Courtesy of Bon Appetite

No comments:

Post a Comment