I am just going to throw it out there from the beginning – this dish may make my top 10 ever. The flavors involved make it so interesting and tasty, and it’s super easy to make. The spiced butter adds a mouthwatering coating to the pasta, and the pine nuts add the perfect crunch to every forkful. It comes from the cookbook “Plenty,” which is currently the best cookbook I’ve ever owned. In fact, it’s the only cookbook I’ve had where literally every single recipe I’ve tried to date has been incredible. It’s packed with interesting and healthy meals, and while they are all vegetarian, they are the kind that would make the most carnivorous critics content. And no, it’s not one of those vegetarian cookbooks that make you realize halfway through the recipe that you have to turn off the stove and travel to Guam to pick up that obscure ingredient you’ve never heard of. Most of them instead consist of basic, raw ingredients you could find in the grocery store, and if not exact, you can substitute alternatives.
The author and chef, Yotam Ottolenghi, is actually not vegetarian, and supposedly received a lot of backlash while writing for the New York Times when readers discovered this truth. But really – who cares that he eats meat? His background and insane talent allows him to make awesome vegetable dishes, so why not share them? Shoving people into labeled boxes – vegetarian, flexitarian, vegan, etc. – does far more harm than good, and often turns people off altogether from trying something “different.” This cookbook, in my opinion, does two things – it makes vegetarians happy, and gets hard-core meat eaters adding a little more variety to meals. Now, for the recipe…
1 pack fettuccine pasta (original recipe calls for you to make your own, but I did not have the right flour.)
1 pinch saffron threads
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
8 shallots, finely chopped (yes, 8!)
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
4 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
4 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pinch of saffron threads to the water.
Place butter and olive oil in a frying pan. Once melted, add the shallots and saute for 10 minutes until shallots become translucent and butter becomes slightly browned.
Next, add all of the spices: ginger, paprika, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, chili flakes, turmeric, salt and pepper, and stir together until well-blended.
Cook pasta until al dente (about 1 minute sooner than the box suggests.) Drain the pasta, then add back to the pot and add the spiced butter and shallots. Toss well. Divide among plates, and top with the pine nuts and fresh herbs. Bellissima!!!!