Spices of my life : Turmeric

It is one of the cheapest of spices which comes from the ginger family but it is one thing I can never be without. Lately I’ve been using it in my chicken dishes, with pasta and with vegetables. It gives the dish a vibrant yellow color and it has that taste that I love- a somewhat bitter taste with just the right amount of heat but there's something in it that that melds well with other ingredients and the result - delicioso! Add a sprinkle to your creamed corn and taste the difference!

During the weekend I paired it with the royal spice saffron and made Saffron Spaghetti ala Carbonara. I used pancetta, saffron, turmeric, garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt and pepper, egg yolks, Pecorino-Romano cheese and parsley. It is something I never get tired of making. You can find the recipe here

Saffron Spaghetti ala Carbonara

1/4 teaspoon saffron, 2 pinches
1 pound thick spaghetti, such as Barilla brand
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 pound pancetta, cut like thick bacon at deli counter then diced
4 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 egg yolks
Black pepper
1 cup grated pecorino cheese
A generous handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1. Place the saffron in a small pot with 1 cup cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let it steep while pasta water comes to a boil, about 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water and cook pasta to al dente. Reserve a half cup of starchy cooking water just before you drain spaghetti.
3. While the water comes to a boil, heat olive oil, 3 turns of the pan, over medium heat.
4. Add pancetta and cook until just about crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Add in the garlic after 2 to 3 minutes and stir another 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant. Stir in turmeric.
5, Beat eggs with starchy cooking water. Drain pasta and add to the skillet. Pour saffron water over the pasta and toss to combine, season with pepper.
6. Add in half the cheese and all of the parsley, pour in tempered eggs and turn off heat. Toss the spaghetti to coat evenly in golden sauce. Top with additional cheese and serve immediately.


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