saffron tagliatelle

saffron tagliatelle

This recipe is a favourite of ours from Ottolenghi’s cookbook Flavour.  A slick of Zejd extra virgin olive oil and a generous handful or two of parmesan is more than enough to show off this beautiful Lebanese saffron. 

It’s worth mentioning that Zejd’s saffron is more intense than saffron you find in the supermarket, so we have suggested using an 1/8 of a teaspoon rather than a 1/4 as Ottolenghi’s recipes suggests.

1/8 tsp Zejd saffron threads, soaked in 2 1/2 tbsp boiling water for at least 20 minutes
225g “OO” grade pasta flour
70g fine semolina
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks

serving suggestion
salt and pepper
60g parmesan, finely grated
a generous trickle of extra virgin olive oil 


  1. Soak the saffron in the boiling water, leave to infuse for 20min.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse for 20 secs until the mixture looks like sticky breadcrumbs. Place the dough onto a slightly floured surface and knead for around 7 minutes.  When the dough becomes pliable and smooth, and bounces back when pressed, wrap in cling film and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes. 
  3. Set up the pasta machine on your work surface.  Divide the dough into 4 and keep covered. Take one piece, flatten into a rectangle, and put it through the widest setting on the machine, twice.  Then fold the ends to meet in the middle like french windows.  Dust with a little flour, click to the next setting on the machine, and pass the dough through, twice, adding flour if needed. Continue rolling the pasta through each setting, twice, but stop at the one before the last, you don’t want the tagliatelle too thin.
  4. Fold the pasta in 4 lengths, sprinkling flour or fine semolina between each layer to avoid sticking. With a sharp knife, cut the pasta at 2cm widths. Hang them on the back of a chair, (we use the oven door rail) while you continue with the other pieces.  Finally, arrange the tagliatelle in nests flouring as you go, and leave them on a floured tray. 
  5. To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook for 1 minute, stirring to separate the strands.  Strain, but keep aside a cup of the cooking water. 
  6. In a large sauté pan, add the pasta on a high heat, and the pasta water, a generous amount of pepper, and toss vigorously.  Gradually add the grated parmesan to the mixture, tossing as you go so that the pasta is well covered with the glossy sauce.  
  7. Finish with a generous helping of Zejd’s extra virgin olive oil. 

If you’ve got Ottolenghi’s Flavour, the ricotta and crispy chipotle shallot topping is a delicious way to eat the tagliatelle too – just a bit more work!

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