ll Cibo é L'essenza Della Vita....

"The rooms that you use on a daily basis are the rooms people will always want to sit in, because they have soul." --Bunny Williams


"If you want to live forever and ever, drink wine and eat maccheroni." ~~~Sicilian Proverb

Monday, August 23, 2010

Not quite a Meatless Monday- Saffron Tagliatelle with Asparagus, Sage and Prosciutto

Happy Monday All!!

Well, you all know we usually do a Meatless Monday, but we're going to have to cheat a bit this week. We've been trying to get this house ready to officially be on the market and to say it's a bit chaotic would be an understatement

Behold my dining room table....

and my entry....

I will not subject you all to our garage. You'll have nightmares

I hate moving.

'nuff said.

So to give you an idea of life at Casa Bramasole, let me tell you about yesterday. Some of you who have "friended" me on Facebook may have heard this story, but here goes.
A wonderful friend and neighbor happened to find out about a family who is looking for a home in our neighborhood (we live in the BEST neighborhood!). So she gave tham our number and they asked to see our house yesterday.


Can we say NOT staged??

So I explained that we weren't quite ready and they assured me that they could look past the "stuff". Okay.
I told my kids and my parents that their rooms needed to be spic and span clean and that everyone had to be out of the house for the showing.

We did the best we could to "neaten up" and of course scrubbed everything spotless. My mom, God bless her, had to put her own special touch on things. She informed me on her way out the door that everything in her room was good to go and my Dad's "office" (he took over a part of the guest room) was looking good. Of course as soon as they left Ray and I raced upstairs to check. I have visions of having to repeat this scenario every time we have a showing :(
 Ray walks into the guest room to make sure all was well. I hear "What the he**!!". Now I may have mentioned to you all about my mother's penchant for bringing home "decor items" from the thrift shop she works at. Sitting prettily on top of the antique bookcase is a beautifully polished............. pot pipe! Yes. She thought it was an unusual little bowl with a handle and "decorated" my shelf with it- right before the prospective buyers walk in.
When they got home later, Ray asked my father where they got it. His response- "I told your mother it looked like a crack pipe, but she said I don't know anything about decorating a house!" 

Clearly, she's the expert here. 

S-i-g-h.... I figure the St Joseph statue I buried is doing cartwheels already.

Here come the buyers. The wife asks if any "green" features in the house. My wonderful husband proudly informs her that my mom's room is a lovely shade of Sherwin Williams green

Okay- this is going to be a loooong haul

So tonight I give you LAST night's dinner. If you truly want to make this a Meatless Monday dish, leave out the prosciutto (but you'll regret it)

My northern Italian Nonna loved "zafferano" (saffron) and here it is used both in the pasta dough and in the cream sauce. I love the beautiful golden yellow color

Tagliatelle con Zafferano, Asparagi, e Prosciutto

2 1/2 cups Italian 00 flour or 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3 extra large eggs
1 tsp of olive oil
2 large pinches saffron threads- heat saffron threads for a minute or so in a dry skillet, crush in a mortar and pestle and then stir 1 tsp hot water into the saffron. Stir

Put all ingredients in food processor and pulse till it leaves the sides of the bowl and the color is uniform. Knead on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest for at least an hour. Divide in quarters and pass each piece through a pasta machine set on the widest setting. fold in half and repeat at same setting 3 or 4 times, then run it through each progressive thinner setting 1 time. On my manual machine I go to #4. Take the rolled out sheet of pasta and run it through the setting for tagliatelle. To cut by hand, dust sheet of pasta with flour and toll up from the narrow end. Cut into 1/4 inch slices, unroll and set on lightly floured towels. Set aside till ready to cook. 
Bring a large well salted pot of water to a rolling boil.

about 1 1/2 pounds thin young asparagus, woody ends snapped off
3/4 stick butter
1 onion, minced finely (I grate it in the food processor with the grating disk)
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light cream (or half and half)
1-2 large pinches of saffron, prepared as in pasta recipe (heat, crush, mix with 1 tsp hot water)
1/4 cup sage leaves, chiffonade
3-4 tblsp coarsely grated parmesan or Asiago cheese
about 1/4 pound Prosciutto di Parma (I used 5 slices)

In a skillet, bring about 2 inches of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and simmer for about 3 minutes till still bright green, but tender. Lift asparagus out with a large handled strainer and submerge in ice water. Drain well and cut asparagus into thirds. Bring a large, well salted pot of water to a rolling boil.
Wipe out skillet and melt butter. Saute onion and half of asparagus for about 3 minutes till onion is translucent. Add sage and saute 2 more minutes. Add wine and allow to evaporate. Stir in heavy cream and saffron water. Bring to low simmer, add cheese and light cream. Set aside
Add tagliatelle to pot of water and cook for about 5 minutes till al dente. Lift tagliatelle out with tongs, drain and add to saffron cream sauce. Toss gently and serve

Be sure to check out our Facebook Fan Page later tonight for our Bonus Recipe- Black and White Cream Cups

As Always,

Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie


  1. You are so funny. God bless your parents and their antique 'finds'. Good luck with the sale and the move.

  2. I guess I am new enough here...I didn't know you are moving! Are you going far? So, it sold just like that? And that is SO funny about your mom...priceless! ;D

  3. Good luck with your house sale! Good thing you checked Mom's room - lol! Your recipes are great as always. Will look forward to your updates on the move, new jobs etc and hope the kids are taking this in stride.
    Hugs, Beth

  4. You've got me beat--no contest :) If your mother has any houseplants, you'd better make sure she's not growing anything to put in her antique :)

  5. Oh boy Pattie! Well you all have been on my prayer list and will continue. Your meals still look so wonderful and inviting. Please take care and I hope wherever you end up you will still allow us to see all your culinary talents and decor with Allie as well and wonderful heritage stories. Take care~Emelia`

  6. Funny house selling story and I enjoyed Susan's comments too! Selling homes is so much fun!! Even with all the chaos of selling you still are making homemade pasta! You are quite something and the dish looks great! Joni

  7. That's a very funny story, Pattie, and one I'm sure you will chuckle over many times in the future. With all that going on you still manage to prepare a lovely dinner. You're amazing!

  8. That was hilarious!! I don't know how you do all that you do. BTW - I vowed not to have anything to do with FB but I joined because of the bonus recipe thing.

  9. hi Pattie
    a lovely shade of green....I love it! Now for your pasta, who would ever want to leave the proscuitto out? Saffron is such a nice touch, even though it is quite expensive it certainly is worth it! Of course your Nonna knew that!
    thanks for sharing another great dish!

  10. I didn't know you were selling your home! Good luck with that! Love, LOVE the look of this pasta dish. It looks fantastically delicious! xxoo

  11. I had to laugh aloud when I read your mom's decor 'find' and your husband's comment on how 'green' your home is! Good luck with the sale, Pattie! Remember to take some down time for yourself during the days ahead.

    Another truly exceptional recipe from you. I can't wait to try it!

  12. LOL about mom! And Ray, you just gotta adore him!
    Good luck with the showings. I can only imagine how much work and stress that is. You make sure you take some time to yourself once in awhile!

  13. Oh Pattie, I laughed until I cried at the thought of that showing. I will tell you that we sold our last house to the people who came through it as we were loading our moving truck. I had boxes piled all over the place. You could hardly see the living room, but they saw past all the mess. Don't lose heart, but please, oh please, continue to share your staging episodes!!

  14. Oh, I loved your story. It was so fun.

    Saffron, oh it is so good. My MIL was from Northern Italy, and it was prevalent in her meals. YUM!!!

    I am still laughing.

  15. Good luck with your house sale,my house too....
    lovely recipe,can't wait to try it! xoxoxo

  16. I just had a good laugh at your mother's expense. You are going to have to watch her!! Your pasta looks so yummy - exactly the type of meal that I love. Good luck with your house sale.

  17. LOL!!!!!!!!!! Your mom is a scream. It's a good thing Ray found her thrift store treasure! OH MY... that's just too funny!


  18. You did tagliatelle from scratch, kudos!
    And they look yummy!

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  20. I just had a good laugh at your mother's expense. You are going to have to watch her!! Your pasta looks so yummy - exactly the type of meal that I love. Good luck with your house sale.
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