Radicchio is a red winter salad that typically grows in the north of Italy. There are many varieties, some longer and more bitter than others, but they all have quite a crunchy spine so they are perfect for cooking. Radicchio is lovely on the barbecue (or grill), perfect for risotto and also the ideal ingredient for some pasta sauces.
Speck is a lightly smoked cured ham that is produced in Tyrol, both in the Italian and the Austrian parts. It’s now pretty easy to find all over Europe (not sure about the US) so you shouldn’t have any problem cooking this pasta sauce. It’s easy, quick and pretty unusual outside of Italy.
Here is the recipe…
Pasta with speck and radicchio, for 4 people:
Cut the radicchio into ribbons about ½ cm thick. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick large pan, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the radicchio and saute until the hardest part is not too crunchy anymore (maybe 10 minutes?), add salt and taste. Some types of radicchio can be very bitter; if it’s too much for you you can add a tsp of sugar to make it milder. While the radicchio cooks, heat the pasta water and slice the speck into very tiny ribbons. Right before you drain the pasta turn the heat on again under the radicchio (if you had turned it off before), toss the speck and the pasta in the pan and stir for a few moments. You can add the cream at this stage if you prefer a more blended flavour and look. Once in the plates add some parmesan and some freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!
Sounds really good. I don’t think radicchio is sold at the local supermarket, but I’ll check the specialty stores. It looks like endive!
It is similar to endive in the sense that it has a crunchy spine and it’s a bit bitter.
You might try it with endive, it would have a completely different look but maybe the taste would not be too different.
I think I remember buying radicchio in london, but maybe I’m wrong!