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Rachael's Pasta with Smoked Ham, Saffron and Cherry Tomato Sauce

Rachael's Pasta with Smoked Ham, Saffron and Cherry Tomato Sauce


  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

  • A pinch of saffron threads

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, EVOO

  • 1 red onion, chopped

  • Salt and pepper

  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1/3 pound chunk of speck (smoked prosciutto), or other smoky ham, thinly sliced by hand, then stack slices up and chop (1/4 x 1/2 inch)

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

  • A handful of basil, torn or thinly sliced

  • 1 pound gnocchetti, or gnocchetti with saffron or small shell or orecchiette pasta

  • Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


In a small pan or pot, warm stock and saffron, then remove from heat and let stand.

Heat a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.

In a deep skillet or saucepot over medium-high heat, warm EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook to soften 10 to 12 minutes. Add garlic and ham and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Add wine, saffron stock and tomatoes, then cover the pan and cook 20 minutes to soften tomatoes. Wilt in basil.

Salt the pasta water and cook pasta 1 to 2 minutes less than directions. Add about ½ mug of starchy pasta water to sauce, then drain pasta and toss with sauce and some grated cheese. Adjust seasoning and serve in shallow bowls.