Prep 10 mins Cook 15 mins Eat 25 mins
Have dinner on the table in only 25 minutes with this Rigatoni with Radicchio, Gorgonzola and Walnuts. Try this new pasta dish on a busy weeknight. It’s different and delicious with a grown-up taste. Radicchio is a favorite ingredient of authentic Italian dishes and on it’s own has a bittersweet taste, much like arugula without the spiciness. (The radicchio for our La Cucina Italiana cooking class was donated to me from Melissa’s Produce.) Combine the radicchio with the creamy and robust flavor of Gorgonzola cheese and some earthy walnuts and this is a flavor combination that will transport you right to Italy.
Everyone loved this “primi” entree at our La Cucina Italiana cooking class, where we served a full-on authentic Italian meal including a “secondi” course of Black Cod with a Fennel-Saffron broth. It was all so yummy. Stella said “yep, I could make this Rigatoni dish easily at home in 25 minutes and it is so good.”
The Radicchio sauce combination should be served with a solid pasta shape like Rigatoni, Tortiglioni or Penne. Just make sure it is cooked al dente so that the large tubular pasta stands up to the sauce. I discovered Tortiglioni at my Italian market by grabbing what I thought was Rigatoni. I was pleasantly surprised when I got home with the results.
Let me show you how fast you can put this dish together. Cook the onions in olive oil first. Then after slicing the radicchio, which can be done in mere seconds using the slicing blade of a food processor, add the radicchio and cook for a few minutes.
Add the walnuts next along with a 1/2 cup of the pasta water. The trick to making a good pasta dish is to save some of the pasta water as you drain to use in your sauce later. Use a pasta pot with a built-in colander to do this super fast.
Then add in the drained Rigatoni or Tortiglioni and another 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Another trick to an authentic Italian pasta dish is to marry the pasta with the sauce to incorporate all the flavor into the noodles.
Finally, most of the gorgonzola cheese is mixed into the dish to make it creamy. Save some of the gorgonzola for garnishing each plate. As the dish sits, the cheese will melt and the pasta will absorb all these good flavors. If it sits for awhile, you will want to add a little more pasta water just before serving to lighten it up and make it more creamy.
What’s great about this dish is how fast you can put it together. In 25 minutes you will sit down to a delicious fresh home cooked meal. So instead of the same old pasta dish for your weeknight meals, branch out and try Rigatoni with Radicchio, Gorgonzola and Walnuts and eat like a real Italian.
Rigatoni with Radicchio, Gorgonzola and Walnuts
1 pound Rigatoni or other Large Tube pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium heads radicchio (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup walnut pieces, rough chop
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch Fresh-ground black pepper
6 ounces Gorgonzola cheese crumbled
3 Tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Bring a pasta pot of salted water to a boil. Dice onion and set aside. Quarter the radicchio and cut out the core at the bottom of each quarter. Cut crosswise into thinly sliced ribbons or chiffonade. This can be done very quickly with a slicing blade in a food processor. Set aside.
2. Add rigatoni to the pasta pot and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain rigatoni and reserve the pasta water.
3. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet and add onion. Cook on medium-low heat for a few minutes, then add the radicchio and cook until wilted, a few more minutes. Add 1/2 cup pasta water and most of the walnuts and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add cooked and drained rigatoni along with another 1/2 cup pasta water and 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grindings of the fresh ground pepper. Stir together to combine and cook for another 2 minutes.
4. Remove pan from heat, add most of the gorgonzola cheese and most of parsley, saving some for garnishing. Stir together to combine and melt the cheese. To make the dish creamier, you can stir in a small amount of additional pasta water. Serve on plates, garnishing with the reserved walnuts, gorgonzola and parsley.
Servings: 6 – 562 calories per serving