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Sunny Saffron Butter Pasta

Saffron Butter Pasta in a white bowl on a marble surface
Photograph by Isa Zapata, Prop styling by Suzie Meyers, Food Styling by Taneka Morris
  • Total Time

    25 minutes

This pantry pasta requires just one specialty ingredient to bump it from basic to restaurant-quality: saffron. While the earthy-sweet strands are certainly more expensive than your other spice cabinet regulars, a little goes a long way. Here less than a single teaspoon of crushed saffron threads gets steeped in hot water before imbuing the rich, creamy sauce with honey-like flavor and a vibrant, sunshiny hue. Warm black pepper, salty Parmesan, and a sprinkling of fresh basil at the end provide all the balance you need for a weeknight-friendly but company-worthy dish that will land on your table in just 25 minutes.

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What you’ll need


4 servings


tsp. crushed saffron threads

tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, divided, plus more


Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided


medium shallot, finely chopped


garlic cloves, finely chopped


cup dry white wine


tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Freshly ground pepper


cup heavy cream


oz. pappardelle


cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

Basil leaves (for serving)


  1. Step 1

    Place ¾ tsp. crushed saffron threads in a small bowl. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Scoop out ¼ cup and pour over saffron; set aside. Generously season water in pot with kosher salt and keep at a boil (you’ll use it for the pasta).

    Step 2

    Melt 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 medium shallot, finely chopped, 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped, and ½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot is slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Pour in ½ cup dry white wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add reserved saffron and soaking liquid, ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, and remaining 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt; season generously with freshly ground pepper. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Pour in 1 cup heavy cream and bring to a simmer, stirring to combine. Remove skillet from heat.

    Step 3

    Cook 10 oz. pappardelle according to package instructions until al dente. Drain, reserving ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid.

    Step 4

    Place skillet with sauce over medium-high heat. Add pappardelle, reserved pasta cooking liquid, ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan, and remaining 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter. Cook, tossing, until sauce is thickened and pasta is coated and glossy, about 2 minutes.

    Step 5

    Divide pasta among shallow bowls. Top with more Parmesan and basil leaves.

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  • Really delicious! Elevates the classic buttered noodle while being quick and easy. Definitely will make again :)

    • Anna W

    • Colorado

    • 7/17/2023

  • This was amazing! I added peas for color. Highly recommend.

    • Anonymous

    • Denver, CO

    • 7/6/2023

  • This is incredibly good and indulgent!

    • SB

    • Chicago

    • 7/4/2023

  • Delicious! Easy and most items in the pantry on a regular basis- a keeper!

    • Anonymous

    • Dallas

    • 6/22/2023