The Recipe Behind The Photoshoot: Homemade Saffron Tagliatelle

The photo you see on your right was taken by Keiko Oikawa ( for The Foodie Bugle photo shoot and I want to tell you how I made those saffron tagliatelle. Through small, easy steps I am going to show you how to make your very own pasta at home. If you wish to make plain tagliatelle, then follow exactly the same steps, but omit the saffron threads.

Ingredients you will need to feed 4 people as a starter

300 g of OO type flour, or pasta flour

1 good pinch of sea salt

3 fresh, free range eggs from corn fed chickens

A good pinch of saffron threads

Extra flour and semolina for rolling


Step 1

Take 300g of very fine white flour (like OO Type flour) and place in a bowl with a good pinch of sea salt. Put aside 3 fresh free range eggs, beaten.

Step 2

With a pestle and mortar grind the saffron threads until they are a fine powder. Then mix the saffron powder into the beaten eggs.

Step 3

Make a well in the flour, add the eggs and saffron and mix well. Amalgamate with your hands, working the dough until it has all come together to make a smooth ball. It should feel springy to the touch. Now cling film the dough ball and place in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. The gluten in the flour will now relax, making the dough more elastic.

Step 4

Assemble your Imperia pasta machine (the best brand, in my mind). Hook it onto your table. Take the dough out of the fridge.

Step 5

Now divide your chilled dough into four pieces. Roll each piece with a rolling pin, using some semolina flour and extra OO white flour to ensure the dough does not stick to the table.

Step 6

Roll out the 4 pieces of dough using the first number on the pasta machine wheel, at the side of the pasta machine. Usually this number is 1. Roll the dough a few times through the first setting, then again through the second setting, then the third and so on, until you get to the fifth setting. By the time you get to the fifth setting your pasta strip will be fine enough. Lay it out on a floured table.

Step 7

Using a pastry cutter (or just a knife) cut your pasta strip in half now, as otherwise it is too long to eat. Continue rolling and cutting, until all the strips are finished.

Step 8

You will see that all the strips are now rolled quite thinly and they are cut to a suitable size. Leave them to dry, just a little, for about 5-10 minutes, not too long.

Step 9

Now place the handle of the pasta machine in the hole for the tagliatelle cutter. Roll the pastry strips through the tagliatelle cutter, one by one.

Step 10

The tagliatelle come out the other side, cut into thin strips.

Step 11

You can now dry your pasta on a wooden tray covered with a clean cloth, in lines or in random strips, or even on a wooden clothes rack. The pasta can be boiled fresh as it is, which means it only takes 3-4 minutes cooking time in boiling salted water, or dried out and stored in a paper bag or cloth covered tray for months.

Step 12

Remember to clean your pasta machine with a dry pastry brush and cloth. Never use a damp cloth or it will create rust. Store your pasta machine in the box to stop it going dusty.

Recipe to make the tomato and basil sauce

Ingredients to make 600 ml of sauce

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 tsp. sugar

750g. really fresh, ripe tomatoes, chopped into small pieces

sea salt and freshly grated black pepper

2 good handfuls of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces.

5 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil


1. In a heavy saute pan soften the shallot and garlic pieces with some olive oil, sea salt and pepper. You can add just a little water to help create some steam, which helps soften the vegetables. You do not want the shallots and garlic to crisp or brown, just become transluscent.

2. Add the chopped tomatoes, stir well and cook for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. When the tomatoes are fully cooked, remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for about ten minutes.

3. Pass the tomatoes through a mouli, or potato ricer, so that the peel of the tomatoes is removed, and the rich tomato sauce comes through, into a bowl.

4. Mix the torn basil pieces into the tomato sauce. You can store the sauce in an airtight jar, or warm it up and serve with the tagliatelle.

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