Friday, September 13, 2013

Linguine with Radicchio

Somehow I still did not get into the usual cooking mood, so my meals are really simple and often limited to salads, even for dinner. In such lazy and disorganized moments Italian cuisine and pasta come to the rescue. And they never disappoint me. So today I made radicchio pasta for dinner.

I love radicchio. Unlike some people, I do not mind its bitter taste and its texture, which is harder than in most other salads. I usually eat radicchio raw but I often read about meals that use cooked or grilled radicchio. However, my experiment with grilling it discouraged me for a while from experimenting. Grilled radicchio turned out dry and rather forgettable in taste.

But my Italian friend convinced me recently about giving a chance to cooked radicchio. She told me about all different dishes based on radicchio she prepares--pastas, lasagnas, pizzas, and warm salads, where radicchio is cooked and tastes really delicious.

Radicchio, in its basic version, is easily available almost everywhere those days. I usually keep a head or two in my refrigerator to enrich green salads. So when this pasta came to my mind as a dinner idea I already had the basic ingredient. It took no time to make this pasta dish. The sauce became creamy and slightly bitter from the radicchio, and fried pancetta rounded up the flavor.

Linguine with Radicchio
(Serves four)

1/2 box of dried linguine,
1 head of radicchio, sliced,
4 oz of pancetta or lean bacon,
1/2 medium onion, cut in half and sliced,
3 garlic cloves, minced,
1/2 cup table cream,
freshly shredded Parmesan cheese,
2 tbsp olive oil,
salt and pepper.

1. Cook pasta until al dente in salted water.
2. Heat a heavy duty pan and fry pancetta until it releases its grease. Remove as much of the grease as you can and add olive oil to the pan. Add onion and garlic and fry everything until onion becomes transparent.
3. Add radicchio to the pan and toss for about 2 minutes until radicchio become soft. Pour in cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring sauce to bubbling and cook for another 2 minutes.

4. Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the pasta and shred fresh Parmesan on top. Serve hot.

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