Pasta With Radicchio, Gorgonzola and Hazelnuts
This forgiving pasta makes for a hearty vegetarian dinner that arrives with salad in tow. The sweet, buttery crunch of hazelnuts and the salty, rich blue cheese balance the bitter crisp of the radicchio. If you don't have hazelnuts, any toasted nut like almonds or walnuts will do. If you’re not going meatless, crisp up a little pancetta before you add the radicchio or serve the pasta as a side to accompany roast chicken or pork.
- Serves: 4 persons
- Kosher salt
- 1pound mezze rigatoni or penne rigate
- 1cup roughly chopped hazelnuts
- ¼cup olive oil
- 1 ½pounds radicchio, cored and cut into 1-inch ribbons (around 2 to 3 medium heads)
- Black pepper
- 6ounces crumbled Gorgonzola or other mild, soft blue cheese
- ½cup chopped Italian parsley
- Flaky salt, for serving (optional)
- Grated pecorino or Parmesan, for serving (optional)
Step 1Bring a large pot of well-salted water (2 heaping tablespoons kosher salt to about 7 quarts water) to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1½ cups pasta cooking water, and drain.
Step 2Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Toast the hazelnuts, stirring frequently so they do not burn, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside and wipe out the skillet with a paper towel.
Step 3Heat the olive oil in the 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the radicchio and cook until it begins to wilt and browns in spots, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the gorgonzola and 1/2 cup pasta water, and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes more. The water should emulsify the cheese and create a velvety texture.
Step 4Add the pasta to the skillet and toss to combine with the sauce, adding 1/4 cup pasta water or more as needed until it’s glossy with sauce, about 1 minute more. Add the hazelnuts and half the parsley and toss again to combine. Top with remaining parsley and season with flaky salt. Pass grated cheese at the table, if desired.