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Saffron Pasta With Pork And Tomato Sauce


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  • 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 can crushed tomatoes with added puree (28 oz)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces gnocchi-shaped pasta (or orecchiette [little ear-shaped pasta] or medium pasta shells)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons saffron threads crumbled
  • 1 cup freshly-grated pecorino Sardo cheese (abt 3 oz) (or pecorino Romano cheese)


Servings 6


Step 1

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta; sauté until fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Add onion and parsley and sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add ground pork and sauté 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. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Chill uncovered 1 hour. Then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over low heat.)

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.

This recipe yields 6 to 8 first-course servings.

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