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Radicchio Spaghetti

Perfect Fall captured in a dish - bitter radicchio sweetened with slow braising... and well that's it!

Perfect Fall captured in a dish - bitter radicchio sweetened with slow braising... and well that's it!

Fall came and went. And, it comes again, when it feels like in Italy! At the end of November, we were still blessed with bright sunny days and temperatures that were nostalgic of the colorful season. I went for a long walk a few weekends ago. It was when I needed to shut out, stay within and keep everything else out. In other words, I disconnected. Completely.

Off the grid.

It was awesome! For the first time, is so many years, it felt like I had the permission to be. To not constantly wonder if I am maximising my time, if I should be doing something more productive, continuously striving to reach a goal (which? no idea! Some goal, surely!). Often, I find myself caught in a loop of wanting to do something, yet really desiring mind space or body space or just space but unable to give myself that because I feel like I am not allowed. These feelings are not external but really self-imposed. 

Not as excuse, but as reality, having a smart phone does not help the hyper person, like me. Constantly distracted, with a dozen ideas, opportunities and possibilities thrown at your every second, from people you know, and don't, it is a weapon of serious mass debilitation! These days, I find I can't even get through a page in a book without being distracted by a message or an app on the phone. Pah! What a mess we have created for ourselves.

So anyway, it was good to disconnect... And, nourish myself. I had a long think about many things and how I want to live 2017. It is still work in progress, but, I am happy to have made a start. Some thoughts that came up felt really good and free but still need courage, some felt reassuring in knowing that beneath all that deluge there was still me, some said that I need to find myself again. And, these are all what I will be working on, to shape more, to feel more and to be more...

Braised Radicchio spaghetti + balsamic vinegar
Fall Onions

Color me Purple.....

Then, I made myself this simple dish. But, I think it is amazingly rich in its compelling story of transformation. Bitter radicchio, slowly braised on stove top becomes a sweet sticky luxury that coats every strand of pasta like a particularly intimate kiss. Pair it with fennel and hazelnut and it is a veritable orgy. You'll even forget sex.. or, maybe this is a good substitute, for when...

Anyway, the utterly small and non-insignificant component of this dish is the final drizzle of well matured, gracefully aged balsamic vinegar. By that I mean, use the traditional kind from Modena or Reggio Emilia, not the industrial ones. Before that, though, toss a lot of parmagiano reggiano into the pasta, because.... well, you just have to! Trust me!

Braised Radicchio spaghetti with balsamic vinegar

Braised Radicchio + Fennel Spaghetti

{with parmagiano reggiano and balsamic vinegar flourish}

1 head of raddicchio, diced fine

1 medium fennel bulb, diced fine

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup of parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated

5-6 hazelnuts, roasted and crushed

1 tsp died orange crumbs (ask me if you want the recipe)

aged balsamic vinegar

spaghetti for 2 people

In a pan, heat olive oil and gently cook the fennel, garlic and radicchio over low heat until really soft and mashable. Add oil if any of sticks. You want this to be slick and luscious.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in well salted water.

When the 'sauce' is cooked, drain and add the pasta into the sauce along with 2 tablespoons of the starch water.

Fold and coat. Toss in most of the cheese, reserving a little for garnish.

Transfer to plates, top with remaining cheese, crushed hazelnuts and the orange dust. You can also use orange zest in place to perfume the pasta.

Finally, just before serving, drizzle balsamic vinegar generously over the pasta!



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