Spiced Pasta

Note: this is different from “spicy” pasta.

I have always had trust issues. Ways in which I exhibit these trust issues (and I’ll only list a few I feel comfortable sharing with anyone on the Internet…and maybe make that a trust issue):

  • I do not post my office hours online, or (at least on my personal website) my office location. I’m not even placing my current syllabi online anymore. This is a relatively new, but already blogged-about issue.
  • I take pictures of every rent check and always hand the check to a human being. I then send an email making sure the check was sent to the bank. We’re talking about a lot of money which, if late or misplaced or lost in the mail, forces me into unnecessary homelessness in Chicago.
  • I have only checked bags twice in my adult life. This is a biggie. I did a two week trip to Spain, and an almost three week trip from Arizona to San Francisco to Portland on ONE CARRY-ON. [Maybe at some point I should blog about how to pack.]

Anyway, how this relates to trust. I love Ottolenghi’s cookbooks. I’ve even blogged a few of his recipes in the past. I’m still astounded that a meat-lover and meat-eater became so well known for his vegetarian dishes. Every now and then I’ll look at one of my Ottolenghi cookbooks for inspiration. Despite the fact that all of the photos in those books are gorgeous, one kept popping out in my mind. It’s the inspiration for the recipe you see below. It took me way too long to make this dish, because I kept distrusting the number of and types of spices thrown in. But sometimes, you just gotta trust.

This is a very different tasting dish. In a good way. And honestly, I’m not sure if any other starch would really work–this does feel right with pasta. It’s just the most atypical pasta dish I think I’ve ever had in my life.

Just as a note: I did not follow Otto’s recipe to a tee. He made his own pasta, incorporating saffron threads into the dough (yeah, right. Not happening on my salary for a generic Tuesday night dinner). He also didn’t use any veggies–those were all my idea. Last, I didn’t have any parsley or shallots.



  • Pasta (I used linguine. Otto suggested pappardelle…also good, but triple the price)
  • Tomatos
  • Bell pepper
  • Fresh mint
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Ground ginger
  • Sweet paprika
  • Ground coriander
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chile flakes
  • Ground turmeric
  • Pine nuts
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Make pasta.
  2. Chop the bell pepper and the tomatoes. Toss in a pan with olive oil and butter.
  3. As the veggies start to cook down, add all of the spices except for the chile flakes and the mint. Taste a LOT–I recommend using half as much turmeric as any of the other spices. And the longer this sits the more pungent and powerful it will become.

    You want that brown butter color–where the brown doesn’t really come from the butter, but from the spices.
  4. When the pasta is done, toss in to the pan and mix it all up.
  5. As you serve, add the pine nuts, mint, and chile flakes (again, to personal taste).

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