Saffron Pasta with Pork and Tomato Sauce

Pasta, the ultimate comfort food.  I have several years of Bon Appetit  magazines filed by month rather than by year.  So for instance all of my May issues are all together etc.  I like to arrange my cooking magazines this way so I can look through recipes that will be seasonal to our local Farmer’s Market produce.  I had this brainstorm a few years ago and it’s worked out really well.  So this month I am seeing lots of recipes for Fava Beans. It’s a fun way to organize and categorize.

So the other day I was perusing through the May issues and saw a recipe from Sardina which is an island in the Mediterranean and known for their love of Pecorino cheese.

This pasta dish is hearty and almost like a comforting goulash.  Is perfect accompanied with a green salad.


The ingredients are actually pretty basic and pantry friendly.  With the exception of the Saffron threads, I bought mine at Trader Joe’s  that didn’t break the bank.  What’s missing from my mise en place are the bay leaves.  Oops, I caught that after I took the picture and it was too late to take another one.  Oh well, it’s in the recipe to follow.


After my pork was browned, I did take away most of the grease.  The recipe does not say to, but we try and stay away from as much of the rendered fat as possible.

The Sauce

Yum, just hanging out in the pan for a bit to blend the flavors and then add the pasta.

The Plate

Paired with a bottle of Sangiovese, it was delicious comfort food.

Saffron Pasta with Pork and Tomato Sauce

Sauce can be made 2 days ahead

– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 3 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
– 1 medium onion, finely chopped
– 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
– 1 pound ground pork
– 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
– 2 bay leaves
– 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage

– 12 ounces gnocchi-shaped pasta, orecchiette or medium pasta shells
– 1 1/2 teaspoons saffron threads, crumbled
– 1 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese


Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta; saute until fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Add onion and parsley and saute until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add ground pork and saute until brown, breaking up with back of fork, about 8 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes bay leaves and sage. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce thickens and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and saffron and cook until pasta is just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Return pasta to pot. Add sauce and 1/2 cup cheese and toss to blend. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and serve.

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