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Saffron pasta with chipotle shallots and pickled chillies

Main Weekend project
4 people
Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr 5 mins
Rest 30 mins
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If you don’t want to make pasta from scratch, shop-bought fresh tagliatelle also works (if so, cook until al dente as per instructions).


50ml olive oil, plus 2 tbsp extra to serve
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
salt and black pepper
3 tbsp parsley, finely chopped, plus 1 tbsp extra to serve
60g parmesan, finely grated
120g ricotta
225g ‘00’ flour, plus extra for dusting
70g fine semolina
2 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
½ tsp saffron threads, soaked in 75ml boiling water for 1 hour
2 tbsp olive oil
3-4 shallots, peeled, very thinly sliced (use a mandoline, ideally) and rings separated
2 tbsp maple syrup
¾ tsp coriander seeds
¾ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp chipotle flakes
¼ tsp salt
2 green chillies, cut into thin rounds
2 tbsp rice vinegar
½ tsp caster sugar
¼ tsp salt


  1. For the pasta, put the flour, semolina, whole eggs, egg yolks, plus two and a half tablespoons of the saffron and its soaking water in the large bowl of a food processor, and pulse for 30 seconds, until it’s the texture of sticky breadcrumbs. Tip the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead vigorously for seven minutes, until smooth and pliable. Shape into a ball, cover with clingfilm and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the shallots. Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a high flame, then add all the shallot ingredients and fry for seven minutes; use a spatula to separate the rings as they cook. Turn the heat to medium-low, cook for six minutes more, until caramelised and a deep golden brown, then transfer to a plate lined with baking paper and spread the shallots out – they’ll be a bit sticky, but will crisp up a little as they cool.
  3. Mix all the ingredients for the pickled green chillies in a small bowl.
  4. Secure your pasta machine to a work surface. Divide the dough into four and keep three covered by a tea towel. Shape one piece of dough into a rectangle, then roll it through the widest setting of the machine twice, dusting with flour as you go. Fold in the ragged sides to meet in the middle (like a French window), then turn the sheet and pass it back through the machine twice more, dusting as you go, so all the sides are straight. Click to the next setting and roll the pasta through twice more, dusting as you go. Repeat, rolling the pasta through each setting twice, until you get to the second-last setting (you don’t want the pasta to be too thin). Once you have a long, lightly dusted sheet, fold it in half lengthways about four times, dusting each fold with a little flour, so it doesn’t stick together, then use a very sharp knife to cut into 2cm-thick strips, to make wide tagliatelle. Toss in a little more flour, cover with a clean tea towel and repeat with the remaining dough.
  5. Put 50ml oil, the garlic and a quarter-teaspoon of salt in a large saute pan on a medium-high heat, fry gently for two minutes, then turn off the heat.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, cook for a minute, stirring with a fork to separate the strands, then drain; reserve 140ml of the cooking water.
  7. Tip the hot pasta into the garlic pan and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the reserved pasta water, the remaining saffron and its water, the parsley and lots of pepper, and toss. Add the parmesan bit by bit, tossing as it melts, for two to three minutes.
  8. Transfer the pasta to a platter with a lip and dot with ricotta. Top with the shallots, pickled chillies, a teaspoon and a half of the pickling liquid, the last of the parsley and a good grind of pepper, and serve at once.