For Mains: Saffron Tortellini filled with Herbed Mascarpone in Sea Urchin Sauce
This is my take on the stuffed pasta dish we had devoured with such gusto at Ristorante Oliviero in Villa Sant' Andrea. As I am partial to pairing seafood with the sensual, earthy aroma of saffron, I wanted to introduce the flavour to the dish. When using these precious golden filaments, there is a very fine line to thread - just enough, and it imparts an intriguingly honeyed, floral note, too much, and it's bitter medicine. I didn't want to muddle the delicate mascarpone filling, or overwhelm the distinctive sea urchin sauce. After only the faintest whiff of the musky crocus stamens, I thought flavouring the fresh egg pasta dough instead of either the filling or the sauce would be the most subtle way of going about it. The sea urchin sauce is loosely based on a recipe from Grand Livre de Cuisine, Alain Ducasse's behemoth of a culinary encyclopedia, which I had finally succumbed to after deliberating for the grand duration of three days.