Thursday, February 07, 2008

On Tonights' Menu:

Penne with Radicchio, Spinach and Bacon


ohhhhhhh! Another quick, simple and delicious pasta recipe!

I think this is only like the second time I have purposefully purchased or consumed radicchio as an ingredient in something other than bagged salad mix. So I guess that means I am not a radicchio connoisseur and thus have no idea how what I ended up with (i.e. whatever kind was avaliable in the store the day I was there), affected the finished dish. The recipe specifies the variety to choose, and as it turns out, after the fact and via a quick consult of Wikipedia , I probably had the Chioggia variety which is one of three types named in the recipe. How accidentally smart am I?
Anyway
Here's to broadening our food horizons, right?

So radicchio is bitter. (Perhaps one of the other varieties is less bitter?) And I am not typically a bitter foods kind of person, but this dish really works, I think because the bitter is so deliciously offset by the sweet of the sauteed onion, the richness of the bacon and the mineral tang of the sauteed spinach. YUM! It even made the mediocre bottle of wine I opened better, which is saying a lot since the bitter/oxalic acid flavors (stuff like spinach and asparagus) are a notoriously difficult companion for wine.
And a little aside...Boy said he didn't really notice the bitter which makes me think maybe I am hypersensitive to it (and therefore a hater) in the same way that makes some people cilantro haters.

So bitterness love/hate aside, really do try this one because it's easy and tasty and different and just a lovely combination of colors and textures in the dish. Add more red pepper flakes if you like spicy, because that part really makes it sing and I wished for more heat. And take the reviewers' advice and give the radicchio a minute in the pan before adding the spinach so it has more of a chance to wilt.
I have nothing to critique other than that...it's a great recipe that I followed exactly with the exception of adding the leftover couple of ounces of pancetta I had in the fridge from last night.
Because pancetta is Italian bacon, people!

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