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"I'm going to show you guys this super-simple, so-flavorful pasta," says Rach. "It's a real mindblower and one of my family's favorites. It's a saffron, ricotta, cream pasta with tons of citrus zest and crunchy toasted pistachios and/or pine nuts on top. I'm telling you, my family is SO nuts for this." We are, too! 

For more simple pastas from Rach, check out her Rigatoni with 3-Pepper Sauce and Green Caponata Pasta


  • Salt
  • About 1/3 cup EVOO
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 rounded teaspoon (1/3 palmful) saffron threads
  • 1 tablespoon each lemon zest and orange zest
  • 1 scant teaspoon red pepper flakes or ground pepperoncino
  • ½ cup vegetable or chicken stock or water
  • 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese (sheep's or cow's milk)
  • 1 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 1 pound short pasta, such as malloreddus, or other small-cut, thin penne
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • ½ cup pistachios or pine nuts, toasted and chopped
  • Chives, finely chopped
  • Edible flowers (optional)


Serves: 4


Place a large pot of water on to boil for pasta. When at full boil, salt water liberally. 

Rachael Ray 8-Quart Covered Oval Stockpot

Rachael Ray 8-Quart Covered Oval Stockpot

Rachael Ray

Warm oil over low heat with garlic, saffron, zest and red pepper flakes. When it has bubbled a couple minutes, swirl in stock and let reduce 2 to 3 minutes.  Add ricotta to a food processor bowl, add the bloomed saffron oil to the cheese and combine until very smooth, then transfer to large bowl.   

Cook pasta a minute less than directions and reserve 1 cup of starchy water. Transfer with spider (or drain in strainer, then add) to bowl with sauce and add the hot water to melt it all together. Stir in the thyme. 

Top pasta with nuts, chives and flowers (if using) and serve.