Thursday, June 09, 2005

There is a God, or Saffron Farfalle with Fresh Peas and Basil

"There is a God"? Yes, because a) I was shocked that I actually got to cook some of Michelle's fresh peas this time around, and b) this pasta dish was so damn good.

OK, so we adapted this recipe from Deborah Madison's The Savory Way, a cookbook that I'm just getting to know, but which I'm already very impressed by. Madison's recipe actually includes the recipe for the pasta, too, but we went ahead and bought some Barilla farfalle to save time, and the dish turned out fantastically just the same. I'm sure it would have been even better with fresh pasta, but, trust me, this version, with freshly shelled peas, the delicate flavor of sautéed leek, and the warmth of the saffron, was more than adequate.

1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 small leeks, white parts only, sliced into thin rounds
2 generous splashes of dry white wine
1 1/2 cups of freshly shelled fresh peas
freshly ground pepper
6-8 basil leaves, torn or sliced
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 lb farfalle pasta
12-20 threads of saffron, freshly ground in a mortar

Put water on for the pasta. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the ground saffron and stir. Add the leeks and sauté over medium heat until tender, about 10-20 minutes, adding a splash of wine to help steam them along. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook your pasta until al dente, then drain and set aside. While the pasta is cooking, add the peas and the basil to the leek mixture, as well as another splash of white wine. Cook until the peas are just tender, about 3-5 minutes. Toss the pasta with the pea and leek mixture, mixing them together well. Add a about 1/4 cup of grated Parmagiano and toss once more. Serve in a shallow bowl, with a bit of extra grated Parmagiano sprinkled on top.

Serves 4 as a main dish, or 6 as an entrée.


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