Fusilli Pepe e Zafferano

Fusilli Pepe e Zafferano
Black pepper and saffron pasta sauce

With two spices, a bit of butter and plenty of Parmesan, I created a last minute pasta sauce, full of colour and flavour.
My inspiration was the spaghetti Cacio e pepe, one of the most classical dishes from Rome. The flavour simply comes from cheese (cacio) and black pepper (pepe), but it is the addition of few tablespoons of starchy pasta water that creates the creaminess of the sauce. As I wanted a full creaminess, I cooked my pasta in a small amount of water to keep all its starch.  I chose fusilli, as they are easy to stir, but any other short pasta would have worked.
This is a different way of cooking pasta, which needs care but gives an extraordinary final result.

750 ml boiling water
1 tablespoon of coarse sea salt
350 g short pasta (penne, fusilli)
30 g butter
100 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
A generous grating of good quality black pepper
0.25 g saffron

Serves 4
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

1.     In a small pan, bring the water to the boil and add the salt.
2.     In large pan, heat 20 g of butter and add 3 ladleful of the boiling water. Mix to get an emulsion.
3.     Add pasta to the butter and water emulsion and stir with a wooden spoon.
4.     Pour in one ladleful of boiling water at a time and stir frequently until the water has been absorbed. In this way, it will take 2 to 3 minutes longer than directed to get this pasta cooked.
5.     When the pasta is almost ready – cooked but still very al dente - add the Parmesan cheese, saffron and half ladleful of water. Toss to coat.
6.     Remove from heat and add the remaining butter and the black pepper.
7.     Let it rest for 1 minute.
8.     Serve immediately with a sprinkle of Parmesan on top.

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