I’ve been rather excited about the release of Nigella Lawson’s latest recipe book masterpiece, Nigellissima, for a while now, and was so happy when the Daily Mail put out a two-part excerpt from Nigellissima with their Sunday edition this week.
Basically, I want to cook ALL THE RECIPES, but thought I’d start with Nigella’s ‘Yellow Spaghetti’. In the words of the Domestic Goddess herself: “here it is, spaghetti in an eggy, saffron-tinted, lightly cheesed and creamy sauce. It is a bowlful of golden heaven.”
How enticing does that sound?
The recipe calls for a couple of ingredients I’ve never used before – strands of saffron and a dash of Marsala. I love adding new ingredients to my pantry arsenal, and I’m now on the lookout for new recipes that call for either.
Anyway, back to the pasta. I do like to put my own little twist on recipes that I try, so I simply substituted the spaghetti Nigella suggested for some gorgeous fresh egg tagliatelle, as I prefer thicker ribbons of pasta when combining with creamy sauces.
My little gamble paid off, the tagliatelle was perfect with the sauce:
Nigella’s Yellow Spaghetti… with a twist
¼ teaspoon saffron strands
3 x 15ml tablespoons Marsala
salt for pasta water, to taste
200g fresh egg tagliatelle (or spaghetti)
2 large organic eggs
60ml/4 x 15ml tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more to serve
2 x 15ml tablespoons double cream
salt and pepper, to taste
1 x 15ml tablespoon (15g) soft unsalted butter
Put plentiful water on for the pasta and at the same time heat the saffron and Marsala in the littlest saucepan you have – such as one you’d melt butter in – and when the Marsala starts bubbling, take it off the heat and leave to steep.
When the pasta water comes to the boil, salt generously, then add the spaghetti and cook according to the packet instructions, though start testing 2 minutes early. You want to make sure it’s al dente, as it will swell a little in the sauce later.
While the spaghetti is cooking, get on with the creamy sauce by whisking together the eggs, cheese and cream in a small bowl, adding a sprinkling of salt and a grinding of pepper.
Just before draining the spaghetti, remove a cupful of the starchy cooking liquid, then return the loosely drained pasta to its pan along with the butter and toss it over a low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the pasta-cooking liquid to the saffron and Marsala in the little pan before pouring it over the pasta. Toss straight away, working the sauce through the spaghetti, and watch the pale yellow of the spaghetti strands take on the deeper tint of the saffron; then remove the pan from the heat.
Now throw the egg, cheese and cream mixture over the pasta, and toss to combine gently but thoroughly, before checking for seasoning and dividing between 2 warmed bowls or plates. Serve with more grated Parmesan on the side.
The preparation of this dish was so simple, and the results were stunning. I’m off to order my copy of Nigellissima so I can try the rest!