Buttered egg noodles with artichokes, cepes & saffron

Buttered egg noodles with artichokes, cepes & saffron

New Feast
Alan Benson

Noodles are popular in Iran, where they are called rishteh (meaning ‘thread’) and also in Lebanon and Syria (where they are known as rishta). They are often served with vegetable sauces or, especially in Iran, in soups. The following recipe uses some of our favourite ingredients: artichokes, cepe mushrooms (also called porcini) and saffron, flavoured with a popular all-purpose spice mix called taklia.


Quantity Ingredient
100ml olive oil
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 tablespoon taklia
8-10 saffron threads, lightly toasted and crushed
8 good-quality artichokes in oil, halved
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
100g fresh baby peas
1/2 preserved lemon, skin only, finely shredded
60ml vermouth or white wine
freshly ground black pepper
25g dried cepes, soaked in 100 ml cold water for 10 minutes
400g fresh egg noodles
a knob unsalted butter
1/2 lemon, juiced
a handful baby herbs, to garnish (optional)


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons ground coriander
vegetable oil, to seal


  1. To make the taklia, heat the oil in a small frying pan and saute the garlic for 1 minute over a low heat, making sure it doesn’t colour. Scrape it into a mortar and pound to a paste with the salt and coriander. Spoon the taklia into a sterilized jar and cover the surface with a thin film of flavourless oil. If you’re not eating it straight away, store in the fridge where it will keep for up to 2 months.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan, then add the shallots and taklia and cook over a gentle heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Then add the saffron, artichokes, tomatoes, peas, preserved lemon and vermouth and allow to bubble for a few minutes until it reduces and thickens. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the cepes from their soaking water and add them to the pan. Strain the soaking water to remove any bits of grit or dirt and add half of it to the pan.
  4. Cook the egg noodles in boiling water (they only take a few seconds), drain well and tip into a large serving bowl. Stir through the butter. Pour on the braised vegetables, add the lemon juice and mix together well. Scatter over the baby herbs, if using, and serve straight away with warm crusty bread.
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