Friday, March 4, 2011

Pasta with Radicchio

My fascination with radicchio started around this time last year. We had recently arrived in Italy and were invited over to our friends' Carlo and Michela's house for dinner. Michela made a lasagna with radicchio and Parmesan cheese, and I was hooked. Previously I had only had radicchio in salads, and I didn't realize how good it is cooked. After the amazing lasagna, we went on to try it in many other forms over the following months in Italy: grilled, blended into a cream sauce and served over tortelloni, and baked on pizza.

There are dozens of beautiful types of radicchio in Italy, types I have never seen in the States. Here is one of my favorites, called Castelfranco.

Sometimes I wonder if I like more because of how pretty it is, or because I truly love the taste. I think it is both.

Needless to say I have been missing it. Tonight, Paul, his cousin Beth, and I found some nice looking radicchio at the farmers' market in South Pasadena.

We brought it home and made a fresh pasta with radicchio, pancetta, and Parmesan, following this recipe:

First we mixed the dough for the pasta, and while it rested, we started on the pancetta.

After it browned, we added onion and let it cook for about a 1/2 hour.

Meanwhile, Beth rolled the pasta and Paul made a salad. And I just took pictures.

Then we rolled and cut the pasta, then unrolled it again:

At the very end, we added the chopped radicchio to the pancetta to wilt it:

Once the pasta was done, we added it to the radicchio along with a bit of the cooking liquid...

...and topped it with some Parmesan cheese.

It was a nice dinner, and fun to sit on the floor in the living room:

Beth and I were bigger fans than Paul, who doesn't really love radicchio, but he said he would still happily have it again sometime.

If you are curious about cooked radicchio, or just looking for a simple, new pasta dish, I highly recommend this.

It certainly fit the bill for our mini Ventura reunion.

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