Raddichio with Linguine
This is a grown-up dish. The boys, good eaters as they are, have not yet developed a palate for bitterness in food. Mrs Green, on the other hand, is all hearts in her eyes when she has a forkful. Whenever we are a little stuck with a seasonal ingredient that we use sporadically we tend to incorporate it into a pasta dish. Raddichio has its roots in Itlay and screams pasta.
This variety is often chargrilled as the smoke adds a layer of flavour to mask some of the bitterness. Balsamic vinegar, cheese or cream are also often added to balance the bitter with sweet. For this dish, we decided to keep things simple and quick. As noted, since this isn’t a dish for the young ones, it is very well paired with a cold beer or glass of chardonnay and silence in the house after bedtime. It is quick and adult, and so a perfect dinner to be prepped and served very soon after the little ones are asleep with minimal effort, to not waste any of the precious grown-up time before it is time for us (reluctantly) to join our cubs.
Radicchio is a bitter leaf so a little goes a long way, but we like it and so used a good portion of it for our dinner and mellowed it out with a leek which we find adds a touch of sweet to the dish. A generous pinch of chilli flakes, a twist of our pepper grinder and a drizzle of our best olive oil finished it off nicely.
- 250g pasta (we used wholewheat linguine)
- 1/2 head of radicchio or approx. 250g
- 1 medium leek
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling over finished dish
- salt, pepper, chilli flakes to taste
- Bring a large (3 litre) heavy based pot of water to the boil. Once the water boils add a tbsp of salt and add the pasta. We like our pasta very “al dente” and usually set the timer for 2 minutes less than packet suggests and then taste every 30 seconds till we are happy with it.
- While the water is brought to a boil, shred the radicchio and finely slice the leek discarding the tougher green end. When the pasta has been added to the water, place a heavy based sautee pan on a medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil has warmed add the raddichio and leek a pinch of salt and gently sautee as the pasta cooks. Approx. 5 min.
- We like the radicchio to keep its colour and so like to wilt it rather than cook it until very soft. If the pan starts to dry out, then add a little splash of the pasta cooking water.
- Drain the pasta when it is cooked and immediately add to the pan with the raddichio, or if the pan is not big enough to hold it, return the pasta to the empty pot and add the raddichio to it. Mix it well and drizzle over some good olive oil as you do.