I am the queen of quick.
When it is time for lunch, my husband wants to eat. In the time it takes to boil water, you can have a fabulous sauce ready at the same time.
One of my first jobs in Italy was waitressing, as kitchens were small, not a huge staff was needed and my language skills were very limited. Even waitressing had me running back to the kitchen several times to try to figure out what the clients were asking for. Florentines don’t have a real “dialect” they speak Italian, but there are a few words which vary. For example, toothpicks can be called stecchini or stuzzucadenti.
One of the benefits, was being asked to lunch as part of the staff, at a local winery, Borgo San Felice in the heart of Chianti Classico wine producing region.
The sauce I made today for lunch was inspired by the pasta I had that day, a simple pasta with sausage. No cream, no tomato sauce, the secret ingredient was saffron.
The saffron was in the water which the pasta was cooked in! This fabulous trick is also used in Sicily for their Pasta con le Sarde.
How to make this:
Simply put some saffron in the salted pasta water. ( I am lucky it doesn’t cost a fortune here, I can by local saffron threads at 4 euro a package or the ground saffron even cheaper).
Bring the pasta water to boil, salt and add saffron.
When the water boils, add the pasta and cook according to the package, most pasta cooks in 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, get your sauce going.
I used one Tuscan sausage, taken out from the casing and crumbled into a skillet.
Tuscan sausage is seasoned with garlic and salt and it not really fatty, so I add some extra virgin olive oil.
When the sausage is cooked, add in some of the pasta water from cooking the pasta.
Drain the pasta, undercooked by a minute or so into the saute’ pan.
Finish cooking together.
The recipe I had in Chianti, finished this like a carbonara, with a raw egg yolk and black pepper.
I didn’t have an egg, so i simply thickened the pan sauce with a little flour and butter, whisked in, and old trick I had learned from French cooking.
Add some more of the pasta water and some grated parmeggiano cheese.
Serve with freshly ground pepper.
Tuscan husband approved!