Saffron turns a bit of a boring bowl of pasta into a technicolour of decadence. Rich and creamy with a wonderful floral and musky taste that pairs wonderfully with the venison mince’s sweet and gamey taste.
For the filling
½ medium celeriac, peeled and cubed
2 garlic cloves
For the pasta
200g ‘00’ flour or spelt flour
Pinch sea salt
2 medium eggs
For the sauce
300g venison mince
1 shallot, sliced
3 tbsp butter
350ml heavy cream
500ml boiling water
1 tsp black onion seeds
For the filling, heat the butter in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. When it is foaming, add the celeriac and garlic and stir regularly for 10 minutes until the vegetables are softening.
Add the milk to the pan and bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat and cook gently for 15 minutes or until the celeriac is tender. Allow to cool slightly before blending with a food processor or handheld blender and continue to let it cool on the side or place in the fridge.
For the pasta, put the flour in a large bowl and add the salt. Make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs. Use a fork to whisk the eggs together, then slowly incorporate the flour a little at a time. Once you have a soft dough, tip it out onto a clean work surface and knead for 8 minutes until it’s smooth and silky. Wrap the dough, then rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Divide the rested dough in half and work each piece into a flat rectangle. Pass one rectangle through the pasta machine on its thickest setting a few times. Then fold the dough into thirds and pass it through twice more on the thickest setting.
Run the dough through all the machines settings, from its thickest to its second thinnest. If you don’t have a pasta machine roll out the dough with a large rolling pin and get it as thin as you can. Once thin, place onto a lightly floured surface and repeat for the second rectangle.
Place heaped teaspoonfuls of the celeriac mixture 5 cm apart along half of one sheet of pasta. Use a wet pastry brush to dampen the pasta around the filling. Carefully fold the other half of the pasta over, gently pressing it down around the filling, easing out any air pockets as you go. Using a sharp knife or jagged cutter, trim the pasta into even squares, then lay them on a tray dusted well with flour. This will give you a ravioli shape or do as we did and fold then in half again using the pasta brush to dampen the edges that will touch and create more of a dumpling shape. Repeat for all of your pasta sheets.
To cook the pasta, pour the 500ml boiling water into a pan and add the saffron. Allow it to steep for a minute; the water will turn bright yellow. Turn on the hob, bring the pan to a rolling boil and place in your pasta. Cook for 6 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to remove the pasta and retain the saffron water.
To make the sauce, fry the venison mince and shallot in the butter until cooked through and golden brown on the outside. Toss in your pasta and allow it to colour slightly. Spoon in half of your saffron/pasta water and bring almost to the boil. Pour in the cream and stir to incorporate it well into the water. Serve with a sprinkling of black onion seeds for an extra savoury taste.