For a summer dinner bursting with vibrant colors and textures? Try a tangle of sauteed bitter greens tossed with pasta.
Bitter greens, more commonly encountered in salads, lose much of their pungency when sauteed briefly. Here we use a trio of greens. Arugula, sometimes called rocket, is known for its slightly peppery flavor. Radicchio has an unmistakable bitterness and turns brown rather quickly when exposed to heat; be sure to add it after the hardier greens. Belgian endive is more readily available in winter; you may substitute escarole or young mustard greens.
The pancetta precludes the need to season with salt; if you prefer, skip the pancetta and opt for a thin shaving of aged cheese as a garnish.
- 1 pound dried fusilli pasta
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
- 4 ounces pancetta, diced
- 1 clove garlic, very thinly sliced
- 4 ounces Belgian endive, coarsely chopped
- 3 ounces arugula, coarsely chopped
- 1 small head radicchio, coarsely chopped
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the endive and arugula and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the radicchio and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onions are slightly browned and the greens have wilted.
Drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the skillet (or, if the skillet is not large enough, return the pasta to the pot and add the greens to it) and toss gently to coat over low heat for 30 seconds. Remove the pan (or pot) from the heat; season with pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
From "The Valentino Cookbook" by Piero Selvaggio and Karen Stabiner (Villard, $34.95).
Tested by Renee Schettler.
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