A recipe for Penne Gialle (Penne with Saffron or Penne allo Zafferano). Dried Penne Lisce is cooked risotto-style with beef broth and saffron to create a flavorful pasta dish in about 30 minutes.
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Penne Gialle (also called Penne allo Zafferano) is an Italian pasta dish seasoned simply with a meat broth, saffron, and onions. The cooking method is what first struck me by surprise. Instead of boiling the pasta in salted water, heated broth is added a little at a time while continuously stirring in a similar style to risotto. This method is called Pasta Risottata in Italian and creates a creamy texture with just the right amount of bite to the pasta.
Penne Lisce is a variation of Penne pasta without the ridges. I have been able to locate it in larger supermarkets with a sizable pasta section.
If you are using unsalted beef broth, you may need to add a bit of salt to taste. This Penne Gialle is especially delicious with a homemade, flavorful beef broth. I often like to cook the onions a little longer before adding the pasta to get them to caramelize a bit.
I used saffron threads and soaked them in the last 1/2 cup of broth before adding it to the pasta. You can also use saffron powder, just make sure it is pure saffron.
Looking for more interesting pasta recipes? Try Krautflecken mid Speck (Cabbage, Noodles and Bacon), Macaroon Bil Toum (Lebanese Garlic Noodles), and Eski Peynirli Hangel (Handkerchief Noodles with Blue Cheese and Butter).
Penne Gialle (Penne with Saffron) Recipe
Adapted from The Silver Spoon
Penne Gialle (Penne with Saffron)
- 3 1/2- 4 cups meat (beef) broth
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for serving
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced
- 1 pound dried penne lisce
- 1 large pinch saffron
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt to taste
- In a medium pot, bring meat broth to a boil.
- In a large pan, melt butter and olive oil over medium low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Toss in the penne until thoroughly covered in the butter and oil. Pour in about 1/2 cup of the boiling broth and constantly stir until fully absorbed. Continue adding broth and stirring until the penne is al dente. Add saffron to the last 1/2 cup of broth and let it sit while you are stirring in the previous 1/2 cup of broth. Mix in the saffron infused last 1/2 cup until fully absorbed. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt if needed.
- Divide among serving bowls. Top with Parmesan and additional butter if desired. Serve immediately.