Creamy Saffron Butter Pasta Recipe

If you spend some time in the kitchen, you know that saffron is a highly prized spice marked by its vibrant red-orange color and distinct flavor, which is often described as floral, slightly sweet, and earthy. Because of the labor-intensive harvesting process, you may have noticed the price tag on saffron is typically on the high end, but a little goes a long way and this isn't a spice you can easily substitute. 

Recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe for creamy saffron butter pasta and says, "This pasta dish is creamy and savory and the perfect meal if you are looking for comfort food with delicious flavor. It has a short list of ingredients and can be made quickly, which is always a plus in my book." 

Gather the ingredients for creamy saffron butter pasta

This recipe has a short and simple list of ingredients. First, you'll need wide noodle pasta. "I'm using pappardelle pasta, but any wide noodle works well with this dish," Hahn remarks. Then you'll need some saffron threads which should be available at most grocery stores in the spice section. Next, we'll need some white wine, butter, heavy cream, and salt. "If you would like to make this recipe dairy-free, you can use dairy-free butter and unsweetened coconut milk," Hahn explains. If you want to add a little spice to the dish, you can use red pepper flakes, and a little chopped parsley adds a nice pop of color.

Cook the pasta and soak the saffron

Our first step is to get the pasta cooking according to the package directions. While that is cooking, you'll need to soak the saffron threads. Measure out the saffron threads and crush them with your fingers or use a mortar and pestle. Put them in a small bowl and add hot water, then steep for 10 minutes. Don't toss this water out like a cup of tea, your hot water will now hold some of the saffron's flavor and color, Hahn explains, "The beautiful red color will naturally mix with the yellow butter and provide an orange-colored finished pasta."

Make the butter sauce

To make the butter sauce add the wine to a large frying pan and turn the heat to medium. Let it heat up for 3 minutes then add the butter. "The wine will reduce slightly and provides a good base to combine with the butter. If you want to avoid alcohol in this meal, you can just use chicken or vegetable broth for a similar effect," Hahn explains. After the butter has melted, add the cream, salt, and the saffron with the soaking water. Simmer this for 5 minutes.

Add the pasta and serve

To finish off the dish, add the pasta to the frying pan and stir to coat it well in the sauce. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes. The sauce will thicken up as it cooks off some of the liquid. 

"If you won't be serving the pasta for a while, you can reduce the heat to a simmer with the lid on until serving," Hahn says. When you are ready to serve, top with the optional chopped parsley and red pepper flakes. The pasta pairs well with a green salad and fresh bread. Hahn tells us leftovers will last for four days if kept in a sealed container in the fridge.

Creamy Saffron Butter Pasta Recipe
5 from 38 ratings
This creamy saffron butter pasta is surprisingly easy to make. It requires just a few pantry staples punched up by beautiful color and flavor of saffron.
Prep Time
Cook Time
2 bowls of pasta
Total time: 36 minutes
  • 10 ounces of wide noodle pasta
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • ⅓ cup hot water
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Optional Ingredients
  • chopped parsley
  • red pepper flakes
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Put the saffron threads into a small bowl and crush with your fingers or use a mortar and pestle. Add the hot water and let it steep for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the wine to a large frying pan and bring the heat to medium. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the butter and stir constantly for 3 minutes until the butter is melted and incorporated into the wine. Add the cream, salt, and the saffron with the liquid it's been soaking in. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta to the frying pan and stir to coat the pasta in the sauce. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 10 minutes until the sauce thickens. Top with optional chopped parsley and red pepper flakes and serve.
Calories per Serving 851
Total Fat 40.7 g
Saturated Fat 24.8 g
Trans Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 113.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 96.2 g
Dietary Fiber 4.0 g
Total Sugars 5.5 g
Sodium 611.7 mg
Protein 18.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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