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It's not the first time that a wonderful recipe has come from our CSA newsletter (you may remember the Pottimaron squash and Gruyère soup that I posted a couple of years ago with an unusual way to make vegetable stock). The people who run Groundworks Organics and their team of farmers make me feel like a slouch. Not only do they assemble a giant tub of picked-that-day, clean produce for each of their CSA members, but also send out a thoughtfully written, weekly newsletter complete with recipes.
This Creamy Pappardelle with Radicchio and Walnuts comes from the newsletter, though it didn't come as a recipe, just a single, irresistible sentence. "...Case in point was an unforgettably simple meal in Umbria of fresh tagliatelle in cream sauce with toasted pine nuts and chopped radicchio on top."
And it is an unforgettably delicious combination that's nearly effortless to prepare. Creamy sauce and buttery nuts and pappardelle perfectly complement peppery, pleasantly bitter radicchio.
I've used walnuts instead of pine nuts because, last I looked, pine nuts are something like $50 a pound and I had walnuts on hand. Walnuts aren't as delicate, but still deliver a buttery crunch.
And the creamy sauce has a secret - it's lighter than you'd think. Thanks to a clever trick from my friend Helen of Scrummy Lane: a bit of the starchy pasta cooking water replaces some of the cream without sacrificing flavor or silkiness all while helping the sauce adhere to the noodles.
Creamy Pappardelle with Radicchio and Walnuts
- 5 ounces dried pappardelle pasta
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ounce toasted walnuts chopped
- ½ small head radicchio thinly sliced into ribbons (about 3 ounces)
- Put salted water on to boil for the pasta. Add pasta to boiling water.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic; cook and stir just until fragrant. When pasta is about 2 minutes away from al dente, scoop the pasta and ½ cup cooking water directly into the garlic butter mixture. Cook and stir until pasta is done and sauce has bubbled down into a silky sauce. Add cream; cook and stir until sauce is bubbly and coats pasta. Remove from heat and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Divide pasta between two bowls and top evenly with walnuts and radicchio. Serve immediately.