Posted on: February 12th, 2009 by admin No Comments

A friend of Beans gave us a bunch of recipes that use radicchio. Apparently the green of the year isn’t actually green at all. It’s a sharp sophisticated leafy red! Radicchio is a descendant of wild Mediterranean plants in the chicory family. It has a pleasant bold bitter taste and is great raw and cooked. There are a bunch of varieties and you should be able to find one or two at your local fruit and veg. Like lots of leafy greens it is high in vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants. No fat and low in calories, plus it looks beautiful to serve!


Penne with Radicchio, Spinach and Bacon

Wilted radicchio and spinach are a nice match for spicy red pepper flakes and smoky salty bacon. Treviso – with its not-too-tough leaves- is the best radicchio choice for this recipe if you can find it.

Total time: 1 hour

Difficulty: easy

  • whole head of garlic (12-14 cloves)
  • 6 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 500 g penne (1 pound)
  • 200 g bacon (8 oz) cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 6 c coarsly torn treviso, shioggia or tarvido radicchio leaves)
  • 3 c baby spinach leaves
  • 1 c basil leaves
  • 1 c freshly ground parmesan cheese (plus a little extra for serving)
  • 1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper

Preheat the oven to 190ºC (375ºF) and cut a centmeter or two off the top of the garlic head, exposing the cloves. Place cut side up on a sheet of foil with a little olive oil drizzled over, wrap and put in the oven. Roast until soft, about 40 min.

Cook the pasta al dente.

Cook bacon and onion in heavy based pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 10 min. Add chicken broth, remaining olive oil and the cloves of roasted garlic. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Add radicchio, spinach and basil and stir to combine. Simmer just until the leaves wilt, about 1 minute.

Drain the pasta and return to the same pot, add the raddichio mix and the cup of parmesan cheese and red pepper, toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with more parmesan alongside.

This does serve 6, so it’s a fair bit, but halving the ingredients should be quiet simple if there are less of you, also vegetarians can easily leave out the bacon and use vegetable stock instead.

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