05 November 2013

Pasta with earthy, autumnal flavors

This quick meal is pure fall to me, particularly because of the sage, I suppose.  If you can't find decent-looking asparagus (it sometimes gives an encore presentation in the fall), use whatever green vegetable you like: broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, or even frozen peas would be good here.

There are multiple bitter elements in this dish (walnuts, radicchio, gorgonzola), so the lemon juice and honey are meant to balance that.  If it still seems too bitter to you, you could cut down on (or eliminate) one of the bitter components, add more honey to taste, or add a spicy element, like crushed red pepper flakes.

Farfalle with Radicchio and Asparagus

Serves 4

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small head radicchio, sliced
1 small yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
6 sage leaves, chiffonaded
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch asparagus, cut into ½-inch pieces
¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cups farfalle or other medium pasta shape
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to boil.  Cook pasta according to package directions.

Steam the asparagus pieces until bright green.  If you have a steamer insert, this can be done directly over the pasta water; check to make sure they don’t get mushy.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Sauté the onion until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes.  Lower to heat to medium low and add the radicchio, garlic, and walnuts, stirring occasionally, until garlic becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the steamed asparagus, sage leaves, and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

When the pasta is done, drain and add to vegetables.  Add honey and cheeses and stir well to thoroughly coat.  Taste for seasoning, add more salt and pepper if necessary, and serve.