Valentine’s Day & Pappardelle in Saffron Cream Sauce

By Alexandra Caspero on January 29, 2013

I love going out to dinner as much as the next person, but most of the time I enjoy our date nights at home over dinner out.

Since Bryan and I are both vegetarian, it can be more than a little challenge to find fun, trendy restaurant that offer more than pasta primavera for an entree. We are pretty fortunate to live in a veg-friendly city like Sacramento, but it does add some extra creativity when searching for a fun night out.

Enter date night at home. It’s a win-win for me. I get to test out new recipes while enjoying our favorite local wine & appetizers. We have an unspoken routine for the weekends: Friday night is dinner out, usually because I am too tired to cook and Saturday is date night in.

When we moved into our new place, a great location close to parks, shops & restaurant, I knew I would be sacrificing space. Sure, our 100+ year old house has character but it clearly wasn’t built with a chef in mind. I remember when BL told me that we wouldn’t be able to fit a dining room table into the eating nook.

You mean to tell me that our kitchen chairs are bar stools?

It was almost the breaking point of choosing another place, but eventually I gave in. I only hate it when I want to set a nice table, there is barely enough room to put two dinner plates and our glasses of wine!


I tried. And I think it’s nice to set the table in a way that makes you want to sit for hours, even if that’s not going to happen in our bar stools. We can move to the couch for that.

So, table set. Music on. Wine poured. Let’s get to the menu.


Yes, saffron is expensive but you only need a pinch. Plus, it’s date night so splurge a little to make an extra special meal for you and your Valentine.

Check back tomorrow for the dessert: Chocolate Orange Mousse- a decedent, dairy free perfect end to this meal!

Pappardelle in Saffron Cream Sauce


Ingredients: (for 2)
8 oz. pappardelle pasta
8 oz. green beans, chopped into 1″ pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic gloves, minced
½ cup dry white wine
2 pinches saffron threads
2 cups cashew cream (recipe below)
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Salt/pepper, to taste

Cashew Cream:
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in 2 cups water at least 1 hour.

Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water. Place them in a blender with enough fresh water to cover them by 1 inch. Blend on high for several minutes until very smooth. This can take up to 5 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
Add the green beans to the pot of water and cook for 3-4 minutes until al-dente. Transfer the beans to the ice water bath and let sit for 1-2 minutes. Drain and set the beans aside. Keep the water boiling for adding the pasta to later.

Make the sauce:
In a large saute’ pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring often for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, stir and cook another 1 minute. Turn the heat up to medium-high, add the wine and cook until wine evaporates, about 3-5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the cashew cream and pinch of saffron. Stir often, letting the sauce cook for 10 more minutes. The sauce will become thick and reduce by almost half. If it’s too thick, add a little pasta water, broth, or more wine. Add the green beans the last 5 minutes of cooking.

While you simmer the sauce. add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente.

To serve: remove the pasta from the water, toss with the saffron cream sauce and serve.


Enjoy your evening! Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow to see the amazing dessert to go along with this!

What are you planning on making for V’Day? Do you go out, celebrate in?



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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Jen @ Savory Simple
      January 29, 2013 AT 8:54 pm

      Saffron cream sauce sounds like pretty much the best thing ever.

      1. DK
        January 30, 2013 AT 9:20 am

        It is! Plus it looks fancy and tastes great. I’ve been using the leftovers on cooked asparagus! If you don’t want to use cashew cream, you can sub another type of heavy cream. Thanks for commenting!

    2. Cheri
      January 29, 2013 AT 5:40 pm

      Wish we could join you. The place setting is beautiful and the menu sounds great!

      1. DK
        January 30, 2013 AT 9:22 am

        Thanks Cheri!

    3. Kale
      January 29, 2013 AT 5:05 pm

      Looks great! Beautiful place setting as well.

      1. DK
        January 30, 2013 AT 9:23 am

        Thanks Kale!