Pasta with Radicchio, Walnuts and Black Pepper | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

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Milk Street Recipe
Milk Street Bowtie Pasta with Radicchio, Walnuts and Black Pepper

Pasta with Radicchio, Walnuts and Black Pepper

40 minutes

Pasta with Radicchio, Walnuts and Black Pepper

Free

The simplicity of this pasta dish belies its deliciousness and elegance. Radicchio, a member of the chicory family, is much loved in Venice, Italy, where home cook Francesco Bernardi taught us his recipe. Chopped radicchio is browned in garlic-infused olive oil, its flavor becoming rich and complex and its texture softening slightly. The layers of pleasantly bitter notes—from the radicchio and the toasted walnuts—are perfectly balanced by the nuttiness and umami of Parmesan, the bright tang of lemon juice and the pungency of black pepper.

4

Servings

Tip

Don’t begin cooking the radicchio until after the pasta has been drained because the radicchio takes only a couple of minutes in the skillet. If it waits in the pan for the pasta to finish, the radicchio will lose its texture. Also, don’t stir the radicchio too often during browning so it caramelizes nicely, creating compounds that build depth of flavor.

40 minutes

1/3 cup walnuts
12 ounces penne rigate
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
8-ounce head radicchio, bruised outer leaves removed, halved, cored and chopped into ½-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (½ cup), plus more to serve
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Ingredients
  • cup walnuts

  • 12

    ounces penne rigate

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

  • 2

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 8-ounce head radicchio, bruised outer leaves removed, halved, cored and chopped into ½-inch pieces (about 3 cups)

  • 1

    ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (½ cup), plus more to serve

  • 2

    tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 2

    teaspoons lemon juice

Directions
  1. 01
    In a 12-inch skillet over medium, toast the walnuts, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; reserve the skillet. Let the nuts cool slightly, then finely chop; set aside.
  2. 02
    In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain.
  3. 03
    In the same skillet over medium-high, combine the oil and garlic; cook, occasionally turning the cloves, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic, then add the radicchio, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; stir to coat. Distribute the radicchio in an even layer and cook, stirring only once or twice, until well browned and tender-crisp, 2 to 4 minutes.
  4. 04
    Add the pasta to the skillet and stir. Add half of the Parmesan, half of the walnuts and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water. Reduce to medium and cook, stirring constantly and vigorously, until the pasta is lightly sauced, 1 to 3 minutes; add additional pasta water as needed if the mixture looks dry.
  5. 05
    Off heat, stir in the remaining Parmesan, half of the parsley and the lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve drizzled with additional oil and sprinkled with the remaining walnuts, the remaining parsley, generous grindings of black pepper and additional Parmesan.
Tip: Don’t begin cooking the radicchio until after the pasta has been drained because the radicchio takes only a couple of minutes in the skillet. If it waits in the pan for the pasta to finish, the radicchio will lose its texture. Also, don’t stir the radicchio too often during browning so it caramelizes nicely, creating compounds that build depth of flavor.
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Pasta with Radicchio, Walnuts and Black Pepper

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

40 minutes

Tip

Don’t begin cooking the radicchio until after the pasta has been drained because the radicchio takes only a couple of minutes in the skillet. If it waits in the pan for the pasta to finish, the radicchio will lose its texture. Also, don’t stir the radicchio too often during browning so it caramelizes nicely, creating compounds that build depth of flavor.

Ingredients
  • cup walnuts

  • 12

    ounces penne rigate

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

  • 2

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 8-ounce head radicchio, bruised outer leaves removed, halved, cored and chopped into ½-inch pieces (about 3 cups)

  • 1

    ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (½ cup), plus more to serve

  • 2

    tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 2

    teaspoons lemon juice

Step 1 of 5

Toast then Chop the Walnuts

cup walnuts

In a 12-inch skillet over medium, toast the walnuts, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; reserve the skillet. Let the nuts cool slightly, then finely chop; set aside.

Step 2 of 5

Cook the Pasta

12
ounces penne rigate

In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain.

Step 3 of 5

Add the Radicchio

2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2
medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
8-ounce head radicchio, bruised outer leaves removed, halved, cored and chopped into ½-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
½
teaspoon salt
¼
teaspoon pepper

In the same skillet over medium-high, combine the oil and garlic; cook, occasionally turning the cloves, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.


Remove and discard the garlic, then add the radicchio, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; stir to coat.


Distribute the radicchio in an even layer and cook, stirring only once or twice, until well browned and tender-crisp, 2 to 4 minutes.

Step 4 of 5

Stir In the Pasta

½
ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (½ cup), plus more to serve

Add the pasta to the skillet and stir. Add half of the Parmesan, half of the walnuts and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water.


Reduce to medium and cook, stirring constantly and vigorously, until the pasta is lightly sauced, 1 to 3 minutes; add additional pasta water as needed if the mixture looks dry.

Step 5 of 5

Add the Remaining Ingredients

2
tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2
teaspoons lemon juice
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Off heat, stir in the remaining Parmesan, half of the parsley and the lemon juice.


Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve drizzled with additional oil and sprinkled with the remaining walnuts, the remaining parsley, generous grindings of black pepper and additional Parmesan.

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