Penne with Radicchio

Penne al Radicchio Rosso

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

Giuliano Hazan's Thirty Minute Pasta

Giuliano Hazan's Thirty Minute Pasta

By Giuliano Hazan

Published 2009

  • About

Radicchio adds a refreshing, slightly bitter flavor to salads. When it is cooked, it loses some of its bitterness and makes a rich, luscious sauce. The Veneto region of Italy is known for the many varieties of radicchio grown there. The one from Treviso is the radicchio most often used in cooking. It is elongated and shaped a little like Romaine lettuce. The most prized is the one available in late fall called tardivo. It is distinguished by how the tops of its leaves curl in toward the center and by its rich, deep flavor. The most commonly available radicchio in the States is the round one from Chioggia, and it is perfectly fine in this recipe if the one from Treviso is not available.

Ingredients

  • ½ large sweet yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 ounces pancetta, sliced inch thick
  • 1 pound radicchio
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3–4 sprigs flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 1 pound penne (fusilli is also good)
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup grated freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Method

  1. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.
  2. Peel the onion and finely chop it. Put the butter in a 12-inch skillet, add the chopped onion, and place over medium-high heat. Sauté until the onion turns a rich golden color, about 5 minutes.
  3. While the onion is sautéing, cut the pancetta into narrow strips about 1 inch long. Remove any bruised leaves from the radicchio, cut it in half lengthwise, and cut off the bottom of the root. Finely shred the radicchio.
  4. When the onion is ready, add the pancetta and cook until it loses its raw color, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the radicchio and season with salt and pepper. Add about ½ cup water, lower the heat to medium, and cover the pan. Cook until the radicchio is very tender, about 20 minutes. Check it periodically and add more water if the liquid evaporates before the radicchio is tender.
  5. While the radicchio is cooking, finely chop enough parsley to measure about 1 tablespoon.
  6. After the radicchio has been cooking for at least 15 minutes, add about 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling pasta water, add the penne, and stir well. Cook until al dente.
  7. When the radicchio is tender, uncover the pan, raise the heat, and let any remaining moisture evaporate. Add the cream and parsley and cook until the cream has thickened and reduced by about one-third.
  8. When the pasta is done, drain well, toss with the sauce and the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve at once.