Monday, July 15, 2013
My parents are currently inundated with fresh produce, because they've been given the CSA share of a neighbor who is away on vacation. Their solution has been to pass on lots of delicious veggies to Ryan and I. Last week we ended up with kale, radicchio, zucchini (clearly for Ryan only) and red leaf lettuce. By the time I got around to the radicchio I wanted something that didn't seem like greens or salad, so started thinking about making a pasta. Maybe something with some white beans. Then serendipitously, I ran across this recipe. So I thought I could use radicchio instead of escarole, keep the white beans, add some garlic and parm and have something that would resemble dinner. I also had this box of Kamut and Quinoa pasta that Ryan had gotten as a free sample. It is a bit shameful to admit, but I've never eaten any type of whole grain pasta, much less something as exotic as this. But honestly, the earthy taste (and yes, there is one, it's not going to just hide under tomato sauce) went really well with the greens and beans. Plus, I love the idea of getting extra protein in when I have a vegetarian pasta dish. So I definitely need to experiment with different kinds of pasta in the future.
RADICCHIO, WHITE BEANS AND GARLIC WITH WHOLE GRAIN PASTA
8 oz whole grain pasta, I used Kamut and Quinoa Twisted Pair
3-4 C radicchio (I only had 2 C and was sad)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1-2 t vinegar (I used red wine vinegar, but I think balsamic would have been a better match)
1 can white beans (reserve the bean liquid, but go ahead and drain the beans)
1/6 C bean juice
red pepper flakes (1-2 t or more depending on how spicy you like things)
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
In a large pot, boil some water for the pasta and don't forget to salt the water. This particular pasta said to cook for 10-12 minutes, but it was DONE at 6 minutes, I can't even fathom what disgusting mush it would have been if we'd let it go.
In a non-stick pan, heat up your olive oil, red pepper flakes and garlic on low heat, you want your garlic to release it's garlicky goodness, but not brown. In 1-2 minutes when it is golden, go ahead and add the radicchio and let it wilt. Radicchio can be extremely bitter. So add some salt now, and a small hit of vinegar to combat that. Definitely taste the radicchio to see if it's coming along nicely. You want it to have a little bite (both texturally and flavor wise) but you shouldn't have to force down bitter greens. A bit before you think the greens are done, add the white beans and some more salt.
When the pasta is done, drain it, reserving a bit of cooking water. Add the pasta to the pan with the radicchio and beans. Add a bit of the bean juice (I used 1/6 C) and a splash of pasta water to help it all be a bit of a sauce. Add the parm and mix it all well to combine. Recheck your salt, pepper and liquid, adding more of whatever it needs to become a normal dinner dish.