When the weather turns, and winter melts away, our team begins gravitating toward wines that trumpet the energy of spring and summer with every sip. This year, in particular, we’ve been taking home Chenin Blanc, Provencal rosé, and light, juicy reds.
These are wines that we can rally our friends around for all kinds of warm-weather activities — fun, lively bottles that are outstanding both for aperitivo or dinner, next to a light and luscious pasta like this.
Our friend Gwen Connors at Mad Rose Foods recently shared this recipe from one of her favorite restaurants with us. It’s unexpected, crave-able, and surprisingly easy to put together. The saffron honey, pepper, and only slightly dried tomatoes give it an unbeatable, glossy punch.
The original recipe calls for agnolotti — rectangular stuffed pasta from Piedmont — but we found that it also works well with the Bea Casarecce dried pasta. But really, you could opt for almost any shape — we just think that the toothy little golden noodles give it a hearty twist.
What Gwen says:
“I happen to live down the street from one of the best (if not the best) contemporary Italian restaurants in New York. Lilia is owned by chef Missy Robbins, who is one of our clients. It's hard to choose a favorite dish from Lilia, but I can never pass up the opportunity to order the sheep's milk agnolotti, which is dressed with saffron, sun-dried tomatoes, chili, and honey. This is my attempt to recreate that dish at home, and I eat it pretty much every week.
This recipe is best with fresh agnolotti or tortellini (I make them with ricotta and saffron inside), but it's still good with regular cheese ravioli from the store, or plain ol' dried pasta.”
You can get almost everything you need for this recipe in our market, but feel free to swap out ingredients as needed.
1 bag dried pasta (or fresh tortellini or agnolotti)
A couple tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp Better-than-Bouillon (chicken stock that comes in a paste. I keep it in my fridge all the time)
1/4-1/2 jar Armato Semi-Dried cherry tomatoes
1-3 tbsp Bianco saffron honey
Armato peperoncino to taste
Parmesan or pecorino (or both) to taste
While the water boils, chop the semi-dried cherry tomatoes in halves or quarters.
Put the pasta in the boiling water. Using a large skillet, melt a few tablespoons of butter. Add 1-2 tablespoons Better-Than-Bouillion to the skillet. Keep the skillet on medium-low heat so nothing burns and add the chopped semi-dried tomatoes with some of the oil from the jar. Once the water gets a bit of starch, add water to the skillet and stir until you see a silky sauce start to form.
When the pasta is al dente, transfer the pasta from the water into the pan using a slotted spoon. I prefer to use a slotted spoon for filled pasta rather than dumping everything into a colander because it's more gentle and also so you add a bit of starchy water as you go.
Stir everything in the pan and add Armato peperoncino to taste. Once the pasta is coated in a glossy sauce, drizzle saffron honey into the pan. I use about 1-2 tablespoons for the whole dish, but taste as you go.
When you plate the pasta, top with a little more saffron honey and grated cheese.