This is a dish I've been making for years. Actually, now that I think about it, I've been making this for two decades. It's just that good, and that simple. Good for serving when you have guests, and good as a stand-by when you don't have much in the house.
It comes from that perplexing cookbook Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. Perplexing because why did they print a book with over 700 pages in it, and then give it such cheap binding? Did they not know that the binding would tear from the weight of the pages? But, this cookbook has given me many of my favorites -- including the best banana bread recipe bar none, and, this warm pasta dish.
Saffron Butterflies is a nice, light, creamy pasta dish with strong overtones of saffron. That's what gives the dish such a great taste. We Westerners have saffron too infrequently, in my opinion. So when we do feature saffron in a dish, it tastes exotic, unusual, and hard to place. Precisely why this dish is a treat to serve guests, especially when you realize that you're actually low on ingredients in the house.
Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant
1/2 lb farfalle pasta -- any shape will do (as you can see from my photos, I actually only had rotini in the house), but, for it to be appropriately called "butterflies," you should use the farfalle shape
2/3 c peas, frozen
2 T butter
A few saffron threads
1/2 c heavy cream
3 oz bel paese cheese, or Parmesan, freshly grated
Boil pasta noodles in salted water. A few minutes before the pasta is done cooking, add frozen peas to the water. Drain peas and pasta together.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan. Add saffron and cook them for a minute. Using the back of a spoon, push the threads against the side of the pot to crush them a bit. Add cream. Heat the sauce on low; do not boil.
Return pasta and peas to the pot. Pour sauce over the noodles and toss. Add grated cheese. Toss until cheese melts and pasta is coated. Serve immediately.