Carbonara with Saffron

February 2010
Carbonara with Saffron

by 25 people

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This is the meal John requests every birthday and at least once a month in between. The saffron stock version is the latest and, I think, the last—he's so hooked on it he won't let it be messed with any further.

Makes: 4 servings

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound linguine, tagliatelle or egg tagliatelle pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron (2 pinches)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/3 pound thick-cut pancetta (from the deli counter), chopped into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric (2/3 palmful)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2- 2/3 cup grated pecorino romano cheese, plus more to pass around the table
  • A generous handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a ladleful of pasta cooking water.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock and saffron to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer until reduced.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until just crisp, 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic for 1 or 2 minutes, then stir in the wine and turmeric.
  4. Beat the egg yolks with the reserved pasta cooking water. Add the pasta to the skillet. Pour in the saffron stock and toss; season with pepper. Turn off the heat and stir in the egg yolks, cheese and parsley. Pass extra cheese at the table.