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
- 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.
- In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock and saffron to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer until reduced.
- 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.
- 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.