Special Diet Information

Coumadin® (Warfarin)
This recipe is safe for Coumadin (warfarin) users.

This recipe is safe for those who are lactose intolerant.

This is NOT a low sodium recipe.

GERD / Acid Reflux
No specific GERD triggers.

Gluten Sensitivity
This recipe is safe for those who are sensitive to gluten. Use gluten-free pasta in this dish.


"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked."
-Bernard Meltzer, Radio Host

The refrigerator light goes on...

The key to making good carbonara is that the pasta has to be hot, hot, hot when you add it to the eggs so that they will cook quickly. Once your pasta is in the skillet, turn the heat up and add a bit of pasta water if need be to help mingle the flavors and bring this up to the right temperature.


Saffron filaments are the dried red stigmas and the white style of crocus flowers. For me this has always been a lovely twist of fate because crocus are my favorite flower. I remember that they were the first flower that I could call by name. Our front yard was covered with them. Little did I know their value.

Describing the flavor of saffron is difficult because the taste is so complex. It is at once aromatic, woody, and umami with just a touch of sweetness. To me saffron tastes yellow - like a warm summer day in the woods.

I suppose that you could go out in the yard and pick the flowers, pulling the stigma out for drying yourself, but I prefer to pick up a few grams at the store. Besides, a gram of saffron about 500 threads. As each flower only yields 3 threads, going to the market is quite a bit easier. 

Most of the available saffron is harvested in Spain, but countries in the Middle East, including Iran, are popular producers. The latter saffron is not as intense to my palate and I generally try to find the Spanish import.

How much saffron? I generally use about 10 threads per serving, counting them out carefully. For some recipes I will make a saffron infusion: essentially saffron tea. I place the saffron in the bottom of a Pyrex measuring cup and add about a quarter cup of boiling water. Letting the threads steep in this way results in a more powerful aromatic saffron flavor especially in quick saute recipes.

For you saffron junkies out there John Humphries has written a lovely book called The Saffron Companion. I must admit that I don't purchase many specialty cookbooks like this one, but his writing is so wonderful, and because most of the recipes are Mediterranean or Middle Eastern they are both delicious and healthy.


Saffron Scallops Carbonara

Servings = 2 | Serving size =2 ounces pasta with sauce and scallops

Cooking Time = 30 Minutes

This recipe can be multiplied by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

This recipe does not make very good leftovers.

1/8 tsp saffron threads
3 quarts water
4 ounces whole wheat or gluten-free linguine
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic (lightly crushed)
1 ounce proscuitto (diced)
1 cup frozen peas (thawed)
6 ounces scallops (cut into quarters)
2 large eggs
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano (grated)
fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

Place the saffron in a small bowl or teacup.

Place the water in a large sauce pan over high heat.

When the water boils, remove 1/4 cup and pour over the saffron.

Add the pasta to the pot with the boiling water. Let cook for about 12 minutes until almost done.

When the pasta is almost done, place the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and prosciutto.

Cook, stirring frequently, until the ham begins to turn crisp. Adjust the heat so that the garlic doesn’t turn dark brown but light golden.

Add the peas and scallops and reduce the heat to low.

When the pasta is cooked, add the saffron/water mixture to the skillet and then the pasta. Increase the heat to medium high.

Whisk the eggs together with the grated parmesan. Season with pepper.

After the pasta is hot (about two minutes), discard the garlic and add the egg and cheese mixture to the skillet.

Fold together well with a rubber spatula to cook the eggs. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

Serving size = 2 ounces pasta with sauce and scallops

Servings = 2


Amount Per Serving

Calories 522 Calories from Fat 146
  % Daily Value
Total Fat 17g 26%
    Saturated Fat 5g 20%
    Monounsaturated Fat 7g  
    Trans Fat 0g  
Cholesterol 258mg 86%
Sodium 628mg 27%
Total Carbohydrates 56g 18%
    Dietary Fiber 9g 30%
    Sugars 4g  
Protein 39g  
Vitamin A 17% Vitamin C 53%
Calcium 28% Iron 25%
Vitamin K 21 mcg Potassium 694 mg
Magnesium 168 mg