A super easy creamy saffron pasta sauce. It's quick, meaning it's a perfect weeknight dinner but seriously luscious and impressive enough for a date night or dinner party. Saffron adds the most beautiful flavor note to a simple creamy parmesan sauce. Coming together in less than 20 minutes all up, this is an amazing secret weapon sauce to have up your sleeve.
Hi! I am writing up this creamy saffron sauce and I am SO excited for you to make it. Saffron gets a bad rap as it's seen as an expensive and elite ingredient. Yes, weight for weight it's crazy pricy BUT a little goes a long way. It adds the most beautiful and unique flavor to this creamy sauce.
I have used a homemade pappardelle as I just love the twirl factor for this luscious sauce but use type of pasta, fresh or dried. If you can't find any saffron where you live then check out my Easy Creamy Lemon Pasta or my White Wine and Butter Pasta.
Saffron isn't too hard to find, you'll find it in gourmet grocery stores. I get it at Farro here in New Zealand. Make sure you find a high-quality saffron.
Saffron - Yes, it's the most expensive spice there is but you only need a teaspoon. Also it's nice to have a sauce like this for a special occasion. You can not beat saffron flavor.
Garlic - Please always use fresh garlic cloves if you can.
White Wine - Use any dry white wine you like. I used a Sauvignon Blanc.
Butter - I often suggest unsalted butter in sauces but use anything here.
Cream - I use single or light cream in creamy pasta sauces. I find heavy cream too thick by the time the parmesan is added.
Parmesan cheese - Finely grated with a microplane or the star side of a box grater.
Fresh Lemon Juice - This is optional but it just adds a nice little zing and balances out the richness. I also like to grate some lemon zest on top when serving.
What is saffron?
Saffron is a spice that comes from the stigma of a flower. Each flower only has a few of these precious strands and they are hand picked, making it super labour intensive. This is why it is so expensive per gram. As I said above you only need a small amount and it's flavor can not be replicated. It is steeped in hot water before being added to the sauce.
What does saffron taste like?
Don't hate me but it really is quite hard to describe as it's such a unique flavor. It's really earthy and slightly smoky but also has a subtle sweetness. It's a super bright and even a little floral, just trust me if you haven't tried it. When mixed into this decadent pasta sauce, it's just divine.
Expert tips for this dish
- If using dried pasta, undercook it by a minute so it can bubble away in the sauce for a minute or two and stay al dente. This is the key to getting your pasta to take on some flavour as well as thickening the sauce.
- Don't have your heat too high. The cream should never be boiling, just a nice gentle simmer.
- Try and time your pasta to be done at the same time as the sauce. If it doesn't work out, reserve a mug of the pasta cooking water before draining. Toss a knob of butter into the drained pasta, it stops it overcooking and sticking.
- I like to top the dish with extra parmesan cheese, lemon zest and some black pepper.
How to make this saffron pasta recipe
The full ingredient list and method is in the recipe card below.
ONE: Place the saffron threads into a small bowl or ramekin and pour ¼ cup of boiling water over them. Let it steep while you make the sauce. Get your pasta cooking in a large pot of water.
TWO: Gently fry the garlic in the olive oil in a large frying pan for 1-2 minutes. Use a medium heat.
THREE: Lower the heat slightly and add the white wine. Let it reduce slightly.
FOUR: Add the butter in three seperate lots, whisking well in between until a well emulsified sauce appears.
FIVE: Add the saffron water and threads and let it reduce down for a couple of minutes.
SIX: Add the cream and on a low heat add the parmesan.
SEVEN: Add the cooked pasta straight in, toss well and let it gently bubble away for 1-2 minutes.
Ultimately use what you personally like. I go for a single or light cream as I find it thickens up a lot on the heat and with the parmesan in it. If you use a heavy cream you might need to add a splash more pasta water.
My favourite is in a risotto, I will have to write a recipe! It can be infused into persian rice dishes, tagines, casseroles as well as some desserts. There are many different ways to use it.
I really think it suits a long noodle shape. I have used my homemade pappardelle, if you feel like making some from scratch! But honestly, absolutely anything, fresh pasta or dried will work perfectly.
Want some other pasta recipes to try?
If you loved this Creamy Saffron Pasta dish then check out my recipe section for lots of other delicious recipes. Creamy sauces are my favourite so make sure you try my Creamy Miso Mushroom Pasta or my Delicious Caramelized Creamy Leek Pasta. For something quick and easy my Creamy Lemon Pasta Sauce is a great staple.
Made this recipe and loved it?
I would love love LOVE if you could leave me a review down below and let me know what you thought! I love to hear any changes or adaptions you have made too. Also if you put a photo on instagram, please tag me so I can see, it makes my day!Print