- One fat pinch saffron, about 30 threads
- ½ cup boiling water
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pound spaghetti
- About 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus ¼ cup
- 1 bundle thin asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced on bias
- 1 cup shelled fresh peas
- 1 small, firm zucchini, halved and thinly sliced on bias
- 1 bunch spring onions, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced on bias, whites and light greens (or 2 leeks)
- 1 cup shelled fava beans
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
- ½ cup mint
- ½ cup tarragon or basil
- 2 small red chili peppers
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Heat a large pot of water to boil for pasta.
Place saffron in small bowl and cover with boiling water to steep and bloom.
Salt water and drop spaghetti, undercook by 1 minute.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, about 2 tablespoons. Sauté the asparagus, peas, zucchini, onions and fava 3-4 minutes, add garlic, season with salt and pepper and stir a minute or 2 more, then turn off heat.
Place the herbs, chilies, zest and juice of 1 lemon, about ¼ cup EVOO, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse into a pesto-like herb sauce.
Toss drained pasta with saffron and its water, herb sauce and butter, adjust seasonings and top with grated or shredded cheese.