Saffron Zucchini Pasta Sauce

My favorite Italian restaurant here in Regensburg makes a wonderful saffron zucchini sauce, but it’s seasonal. Well, I got a hankering for it, so I found a recipe that appeared to have the right base ingredients except without the zucchini. I’ve tweaked it enough that I think I can call it my own now.

2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 zucchini, julienned
2 T olive oil
pinch ground saffron
2/3 lb mascarpone cheese
2/3 c white wine
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil to medium high in deep skillet and gently sauté shallots and garlic for about 3 minutes. Add zucchini and sauté for another 3 minutes or until zucchini wilts somewhat.

Reduce heat to medium and add saffron, cheese and half of wine to skillet, stirring often to melt cheese. Bring mixture to gentle boil and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in remaining wine and salt* and pepper. Allow to simmer another 3-5 minutes.

*Mascarpone is not a salty cheese, so it took a fair amount of salt to bring the flavor out. I used roughly 2 tsp (but I wasn’t measuring). Taste the sauce often to achieve the right flavor.