A Taste of Yellow: Tagliatelle in Creamy Saffron Sauce and Serrano Ham

Tagliatelle in Saffron Sauce (02)by MeetaK  

Helplessness! It’s an awful feeling especially when you want nothing more to do than help a loved one or a special friend but can’t. Every part of you yearns to simply reach out and take away the pain, the misery, the unhappiness and your mind screams “it’s unfair!” over and over again.  

By nature I am a friendly person and while I can hug the world, I tend to be careful who I call my friends and share my internal self. Just like wine friendships needs time to develop into a complementary harmony of flavors.

Once they do begin to develop, there are sure to be many sweet moments and fantastic times that are shared. However, as that famous saying goes “a friend in need is a friend indeed!” and while the sweet moments will guarantee laughter and fun, in my opinion it’s the tears of the bitter moments that makes the friendship stronger and durable.

We people are funny beings. We so liberally share our joys and happy moments with the world, but why - oh why - do we hide the sad and bitter moments in a box, lock them up and try to throw away the key? I am guilty of that too. It’s hard, I know that.

So when a friend simply shares a difficult moment with me I can relate to the effort they have made to not only share the bitter but to jump over their own shadow and show you that the world is not made of candy floss, jelly beans and dark chocolate.

My friend Barbara is one tough cookie and although we do not communicate day in and day out, I believe we both share a deep respect and understanding for each other. Recently she shared news with me that saddened and all I wanted to do was do something just for her.

The feeling of helplessness set in as I realized my limitations to actually help. I asked her “Barbara what can I do?” Her reply moved me to tears,

“If you lived closer to me I’d get you to cook for me!”

Help can be packaged so simply in theory but in practice, it can be an impossible feat to accomplish. With an ocean between us, not to mention a couple of continents I was not sure exactly how to go about making this wish come true. Well I decided to go with the next best thing and asked Barbara for her address. I’ll surprise her one day when she least expects it.

Her words stayed with me the whole day though and I kept thinking what would I make if I Barbara were really here. That evening I prepared this simple and light yet, in my opinion, elegant meal. Just perfect for two friends and a bottle of wine!

The saffron coloring the sauce a vibrant yellow made me realize this was also the perfect dish for Barbara’s A Taste of Yellow. I was so lost in my thoughts that day as I prepared the meal that I forgot to display my heart. If you are all wondering where my heart is - I wear it on my sleeve for my friends.

This is the third time I am taking part in Barbara's event A Taste of Yellow, which brings together bloggers to help raise awareness for cancer on a global level and support LiveStrong - Lance Armstrong Foundation.

I hope Barbara will forgive the lack of heart in my picture and still come around for dinner.

Tagliatelle in Creamy Saffron Sauce and Serrano Ham

Printable version of recipe here


400g fresh tagliatelle pasta
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 shallot, finely chopped
Glug of olive oil
1 teaspoon saffron strands, slightly crushed
100ml white wine
100ml vegetable or chicken broth
150ml cream
a few slices of Serrano ham, shredded.


  1. Soak the saffron strands in a tablespoon of warm broth. Leave to steep for approx. 15 minutes.

  2. Cook tagliatelle in a lot of salted water until al dente.

  3. In the meantime, heat a skillet on medium heat, add some olive oil and sauté the garlic and shallots until translucent and fragrant.
  4. Pour in wine and allow to boil, then add the remaining chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. 

  5. Pour in the cream and the saffron mixture, stir to incorporate. Cook gently making sure the mixture does not boil for 3-4 minutes until it becomes creamy and thick. Toss in the pasta until it is completely with the creamy mixture. 

  6. Serve in deep plates with some Serrano ham scattered over the time and a good sprinkling of fresh crushed black pepper. 



Tagliatelle in Saffron Sauce (01)by MeetaK

The pasta with the creamy saffron sauce is a simple meal but with exquisite flavors. It’s the type of meals I love to make when a girlfriend is visiting. A light and easy meal to prepare with a large salad so that there is more time to talk, eat and drink at the dinner table – that to me is a perfect evening. I did not use to many other flavors in the sauce so that the subtle flavors of saffron are not overcast by them. If you like you can grate some Pecorino Romana over the top before serving but in my opinion it’s simply perfect the way it is.

Hope you are all having a grand weekend so far. I’m off to a dinner party tonight and will be taking a dessert along. I’ve been baking it this morning – sticky toffee pudding – and believe me when I tell you there is no better way to spend a Saturday morning. ;o) See you next week with a sweet dessert.

More pasta ideas from WFLH:

Spinach and Caramelized Onion Lasagna Fettuccine with Spicy Lamb Sausage Meatballs in a Piquant Tomato Sauce Spaghetti Alla Bolognese


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2010 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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  1. I like how eloquently you defined what friendship is to you and I couldn't agree with you more. Your gift to your friend in need is amazing, even if she can't taste it.

  2. Nice. It certainly does feel like pasta season. Love the serrano ham. Recently I used some really high-grade salami that I purchased from Mario Battali's new Eately in New York with some potato-leek raviolis. It was surprisingly good, and I'd never thought to cook with salami the same way I had always used proscuitto, pancetta, bacon, ham, serrano, etc. But damn it was good!

  3. I agree with you and stated the same sentiments: it is amazing when we meet people with whom we feel so close that we can share the sad, the tragic, the dark as easily as we share the joy, the celebratiosns, the successes. Barbara's courage and generosity is an inspiration. And your dish is fabulous and would be ideal for a dinner shared between friends. xoxo

  4. What a wonderful dish! The saffron infused sauce sounds so lovely!

  5. That is such a beautiful pasta dish and an amazingly vivid picture!



  6. Hello. NIce recipe. thanks for posting.

  7. Looks like something you'd get in a nice Italian restaurant! Sounds amazing.

  8. What an amazing and evocative post Meeta. I love the way you express your inner most thoughts; something I struggle to do through words. Touching and yet beautiful! Barbara is an inspiration to a whole bunch of us. I'm in for the 3rd year too!
    This pasta is luxury served in a platter my friend, just beautiful!

  9. It's so hard to be far away from friends when they need you. But virtually cooking for them is so sweet. This looks wonderful, bright, creamy and flavoful. Yum!

  10. This is beautiful Meeta. I love a creamy pasta meal....and you cook just like me..."a glug of olive oil".

    Thank you for your lovely words and supporting LiveSTRONG Day.xo

  11. Simplicity can't be overestimated, love your recipe. Hope next time you hear from your friend both you and her are happy.

  12. Vivid feelings and emotions come along with vivid colours and flavours, I loved each word of the poost, till the last crumb!

  13. The recipe sounds delicious. I try to make it tonight with mushrooms instead of ham.

  14. Lovely words Meeta!
    I think that tagliatelle is one of my favourite pastas, the sauce looks really good - full of flavour.

  15. Wonderful that you wear your heart on your sleeve. I can see it. ;-)

    Paz xoxox

  16. Beautiful - the colours, the flavours, the story. Absolutely love the whole package, Meeta. Hope everything works out for your friend!

    Jax x

  17. This is such a beautiful post! Oh, and the tagliatelle is absolutely stunning, too. Wonderful :)


  18. I agree - food connects friends in a special kind of way! What a gorgeous and elegant dish for a friend!

  19. This looks delicious-- what a great idea to use saffron in a pasta sauce! Will have to try this soon-- I just LOVE saffron

  20. i'm with you dear Meeta :). I didn't have time to make anything. But in the end I'm glad I found something to join the event

  21. That is so sweet Meeta :) I'm far away from many of my friends and you know what helps from time to time? Surprise little care packages :)

  22. Looks delicious - I love tagliatelle and don't think I've had it with saffron before.

  23. A wonderful dish and such a thoughtful and perceptive post; I am sure your friend will appreciate the thought deeply. Hope she feels better.

  24. Everything you make/shoot just looks great. I envy you :)

  25. wow!! 6 simple steps and you have this wonderful dish that I am sure everyone in the family will enjoy.


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