Spring Green Pasta with Saffron Cream Sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 large pinch saffron threads
- 8 ounces fettuccine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 medium leeks, dark green and root trimmed
- 6 ounces cremini or wild mushrooms, cleaned
- 1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed
- 4 ounces sugar snap peas
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped
- Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it comes to a simmer, remove from heat. Add saffron, and set aside until ready to use, at least 10 minutes (The longer you let the saffron steep, the stronger the flavor will be.).
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat.
- Cut the leeks in half lengthwise then thinly slice them across into half moons, around 1/4-inch thick. Cut the asparagus and snap peas on the bias into 1/2-inch wide pieces; set aside.
- Once water comes to a boiling, stir in the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat half of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add remaining oil, stir in the mushrooms, and cook until golden brown.
- Add asparagus and snap peas, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green and slightly tender, about 2 minutes. Add cream and cook until asparagus is just knife tender, about 1 minute more.
- When pasta is ready, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, and drain. Add pasta to cream sauce in pan and toss with tongs to incorporate the vegetables and coat the noodles in the sauce. Add enough of the pasta water so that each noodles is well coated in the sauce, taste it and add more salt or pepper as desired.
- When pasta is well coated, add about two-thirds of the tarragon, give it a few more tosses then plate it and sprinkle with remaining tarragon before serving.
Photo credit: aida mollenkamp / flickr.com / CC BY-NC-ND