Milanese Spaghetti

Color coordinate freshly chopped green herbs, saffron and orange-zested pasta with Orange and Asparagus Salad


  • Salt
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • A generous handful of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus some to pass at table
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley (a couple of handfuls), chopped
  • 1/4 cup mint (a handful), finely chopped


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.

Steep the saffron threads in the chicken stock over medium-low heat.

Cook the pasta for 5 minutes, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water just before draining. The pasta will be flexible but hard at the center.

Heat the EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and render for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat a bit and add the garlic and orange zest, stir a minute more, then add 1/2 cup dry white wine, the 1/2 cup starchy cooking water and the saffron stock. Add the pasta and cook in the liquids until they are mostly absorbed, yet the pasta remains al dente, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the butter, a handful of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and the parsley and mint.

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