Turmeric is not a spice I would think of as the base for a pasta dish, but here we are and I love being here. I didn’t realize I was into turmeric, but I suppose I am. It’s got a musky flavor (I didn’t anoint it as such, but I think Bon App was onto something there) and some solid crossover with curries. So if you already know you like curry, add this pasta to your list. This recipe was a recent NY Times weeknight meal and it did not disappoint.
Start by cooking pasta (1 lb). I used a spinach farfalle because it’s what I had and because I knew the orange color of the sauce was bound to pop against the green pasta. Make sure to reserve some of the pasta water (at least 3/4 of a cup) before you drain. While the pasta finishes, make your sauce by melting 2 tbsp butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots (I used 2, sliced thin) and 2 cloves of garlic. The recipe called for the garlic to be sliced thin, but I’m not so much into that and instead smashed them so the flavor would still infuse the sauce but I could pull them out. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on there too and cook til the shallots are nice and soft (and browning a bit). Add 1 1/2 tsp of turmeric and stir for about 30 seconds before slowly whisking in 1 c. half-and-half. Bring the sauce to a simmer and whisk in 2 cups Parmesan. Once it’s looking like a real sauce (will happen quickly), add the cooked pasta and the reserved pasta water, as needed. Get all the pasta coated and garnish with fresh chives (or parsley, as the recipe recommends). Serve with more parm because everyone likes more parm.
There’s definitely some earthiness to turmeric, which signals satisfying for me. It think that’s the reason my brain is cool with mushroom-based vegetarian meals; because mushrooms = earthy. Sure I had a little steak with this pasta but I had it protein-free for lunch the next day and it was way more satisfying than a marinara sauce would have been. Also, this came together so quickly but there was some complexity to the sauce, I think because you don’t expect the turmeric + parm combo. It was the perfect Sunday supper comfort food but without all the time a Sunday supper typically commands.