Pasta Shells in Creamy Saffron Sauce with Shrimp and Fresh Peas

Susan from Food Blogga

8 ounces pasta shells
1 tsp saffron threads
3 tsp water
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups milk (whole or low-fat)
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp dry white wine
2 cups fresh shelled English peas
Salt and pepper, to taste

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
24-28 extra large or jumbo shrimp

Cook pasta in salted water according to instructions.

Place 1 tsp saffron threads in a small bowl with 3 tsp water, and let rest for a minimum of 2 hours; the threads will swell in size. If you don’t have the time, then use this quick soak method. When you are ready to add the saffron to the sauce, just drain the water, but don’t crush the threads. Since saffron is intensely flavored, I suggest adding just a few threads at time and tasting as you go until you get the desired amount.

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Add shallots, and sauté 2-3 minutes, or until softened. Add milk and flour, and stir until well combined and sauce begins to thicken and bubble. (I used low-fat milk, but whole milk’s added fat would make an even creamier consistency). Add white wine and a pinch of the prepared saffron threads. Add the fresh shelled peas to the sauce, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, and sauté for 5-7 minutes, turning to ensure that they brown evenly on both sides.

Add the cooked pasta and shrimp to the saffron sauce, and toss well to coat. Gently heat through, and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.