01 . 18

At the Table: Danielle Van Noy

By Sara Berks

We'd like to introduce you to Danielle Van Noy, a shop regular at MINNA for many years now. She is, among many other things, a designer, home cook, home improvement enthusiast, and most recently, a breast cancer survivor. She invited us in for a warming meal of 'Mellow Yellow Creamy Yellow Saffron Pasta.' Not only did she wax poetic on the health benefits of every ingredient, she taught us how to weave care and joy into the daily act of preparing a meal, and that food truly can be medicine.
Journal | At the Table

At the Table: Danielle Van Noy

What’s your name? Tell us about yourself.

Hi! My name is Danielle Van Noy.

I live on 9 acres in New York’s Hudson Valley with my husband where we are slowly growing an eco-regenerative retreat with flower, herb, and medicinal gardens. When I say slowly, I mean it. I have no idea when this dream will be a reality, but day by day we build, pivot, and dream on… 

Anytime I enter a kitchen, I find myself warm, tingly— and right at home. With sunlight on my face, I feel most relaxed and beautiful. In random order- cinnamon, vanilla, salt, garlic, butter, yogurt, red chili peppers, and parsley are the flavors of which I’ll never tire. Study and education are my favorite ways to commit. Dancing is the best mood shifter. A hot bath is a best friend. And, for life and heartache, art is my favorite antidote.

I’m a home improvement enthusiast, a graphic designer, a host, homecook, hopeful-writer. And, a recent breast cancer survivor.

Since taking on the identity “survivor,” I am more interested than ever in— joy and pleasure— read: balanced immunity and managed stress levels. I do believe joy is a direct pathway toward health, and a sense of health is very important to me. Lately, I’ve been enjoying the study of sensory inputs (like food, color, sound, scent, movement, breath, texture, emotion) and the way tuning into these things can bolster immunity and help us better care for our health.

To regain strength and mobility after cancer, I took a 200hr yoga course. I was amazed by the benefits to the practice and have since continued training to integrate focus on moving through trauma. I’m really excited to fuse together many of the different things I’ve been learning into my work. In the new year, I plan to begin exploring new offerings like one-on-one therapeutic movement sessions… and somatically enhanced private dinners.

Mellow Yellow Creamy Saffron Pasta

  • 1 box cavatelli (or similar pasta shape)
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, plus a swirl of olive oil
  • 1¼ cup white wine (or broth of preference)
  • Half bulb of fennel, core removed and finely minced— save top darker fronds bits for topping
  • 2 shallots, finely minced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (less if preferred)
  • 1 scant teaspoon saffron (a good sized pinch)
  • 1 rounded teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg (about two pinches)
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste (optional)
  • 1c whole fat plain organic yogurt (local if possible)
  • 1 large spoonful honey
  • Handful of parsley leaves, picked off stems & chopped
  • Handful of fresh chives, slivered
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • (Optional) edible flower petals

Note: reserve 1 cup pasta water (after you cook the pasta, before you drain)


To a saucepan add: butter, fennel, shallot, garlic, nutmeg, turmeric, olive oil, salt and pepper. (And anchovy paste, if using) Saute until soft, translucent, jammy.

Add white wine and saffron, reduce heat to low for 5ish minutes. Remove from the burner for a moment. Stir in yogurt.

Meanwhile, boil pasta in a pot of salted water till al dente. Drain, reserving a cup of pasta water.

To serve: Place strained pasta in a serving bowl. Toss pasta with sauce, adding reserved pasta water if needed. Finish with honey, fennel tops, parsley, chive, and flower petals. Finally— taste– then add more salt, to taste, if needed.

Possible Additions
  • Serve with a side of greens, sautéed spinach, bread with butter, or roasted salt and pepper cauliflower.
  • Add Shrimp, Chicken, Sausage, Tofu, or even top with a pickled egg— if you feel you need protein.
  • Raisins, Apricots, Dates, or Peaches could be nice for sweetness, if you want to omit honey.

Why is this recipe special to you?

This recipe is filled with mingling inspiration— drawing from a community of genetics— An ode to a favorite dish by friend Chef Devon Gilroy, made personal to me with local goods, foods that nourished me during cancer treatments, and ingredients that are calming, stimulating and aiding my appetite today.

This recipe is special to me because it’s inspired by nourishment and connection. And, it’s pretty damn delicious!

What does tradition mean to you? What traditions do you hold close?

In my mind, traditions are certain practices we take from a familial origin. I feel part of coming into our own is deciding which traditions we carry on, which we leave behind, and how we’d like to integrate new customs as we go forward.

Growing up my family always made a point to come together at the end of each day for a meal. I love carrying on this simple and precious tradition, home cooking included.

Also, a freshly made bed each day. Regular time spent in nature. The aroma of coffee in the morning…

Who do you typically share meals with?

I like stocking the kitchen with as many local products as possible. My feeling is that using foods that are sourced from my community is a foundational way to connect and share food, even if dining alone.

On a typical day, I join my partner Gordon for meals. More festive occasions, we like to invite a mix of both old and new friends to keep things familiar and fresh.

If you could have a meal with any three people, someone you know/don’t know/alive/dead, who would they be?

The meal is going to need more seats than 4… so many I’d like at the feast.

  • Anthony Bourdain
  • Joan Didion
  • Edna Lewis

Anything else you'd like to share?

Let food be medicine… how?

Fresh herbs, spices and fermented notions are ways I infuse not only flavor but also color, texture, medicinal essences, intuition, and mindful connection into my foods.

Exploring and learning a wide array of tastes, cultures, and ingredients has helped me turn an ear to eating more intuitively or with greater consideration to affect. I can ask, do I need warm spices or bright herbs? Soft fragrance or spicy heat? Acidic brine or sweetness? Pungent aroma or astringency? An old recipe or a new recipe experiment...

Heaven and earth separate the fire of pepper and the cool of mint. A world of difference lay between the gentle comfort of a potato and the exhilarating lift of a spicy, lemony green.

Ideas of alchemy behind this pasta sauce that soothes:

  • SAFFRON: High levels of antioxidants that may soothe the nervous system / reduce anxiety.
  • TURMERIC: Anti-inflammatory. Promotes digestion. May Relieve Pain.
  • NUTMEG: Antioxidant. Anti-inflammatory. May help boost mood, enhance blood sugar control, or reduce risk factors for heart disease.
  • FENNEL: High vitamin and mineral content that contribute to bone health. May help regulate appetite and energy expenditure.
  • PARSELY: High flavonoids that can protect against cancer and diabetes. High in vitamin K for bone health.
  • CHIVES: Contains choline that helps with mood, memory, muscle control, and other brain and nervous system functions.
  • YOGURT: High in live cultures that may enhance gut bacteria.

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