Thursday, July 26, 2012

One Of My Fava Flaves

I have been waiting (and waiting) to share this pasta that I so love, and frequently crave.  The reason I had been waiting is because I was going to have my brother in law make it just to demonstrate the fact that I do my best to share easy recipes that anyone can make (again, no offense Michael!).  BUT, when will this cooking day come?  Apparently not any time soon.  When I picked up my CSA box this week there was a perfect head of radicchio and I took it as a sign.  Forget it, I am making Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Leeks and Hazelnuts TONIGHT.  And was I glad that I did. This fantastically simple yet unique pasta dish is from the Food TV Cookbook.  I hope you like it as much as I do.
There are just a handful of ingredients in this recipe, radicchio, fontina cheese, balsamic vinegar, leeks, hazelnuts, a little sugar and olive oil.  Most likely, you will not just happen to have these on hand, but put them on your next grocery list, you'll be glad you did.
If you are unfamiliar with the leek (as the girl at the grocery store was~ took forever to get checked out because she couldn't find the price and kept saying are you sure there isn't another name for these things?) They have a very mild onion flavor.  Most recipes call for the white and light green parts only.
I'm such a fan of pretty food and this is no exception.  Look how cool they are when you slice them.
You really need to rinse these suckers good.  They always have a ton of sand in them.
Once they are good and rinsed, the leeks get sauteed with some olive oil and a little bit of salt and a little bit of sugar.  Cook until softened, about 10 min.  While that's going you can cook your whole-wheat spaghetti until al dente.
This is also a good time to pop the hazelnuts in the toaster oven for a few minutes until toasty brown.  Keep an eye on them though!  They only take a few min and they will burn if you're not careful.
You will need one small head of radicchio (boy was I glad to see that in the box this week! I have been seriously craving this dish for over a month now!) cored and sliced.
You can cut up some fontina into cubes ahead of time.  I love fontina.  A lot.
Once the pasta is done you put it along with a cup of the cooking liquid in the pan with the leeks.  To that add some olive oil, a teaspoon of sugar and two teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.  Then add the sliced radicchio and cubed cheese and toss until cheese gets melted.
Chop up those toasted nuts for serving.  Be careful no to let them go flying!
And there you have it, one of my faves.  We had this with a little grilled steak, they were perfect together.

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Leeks and Hazelnuts (Food TV Cookbook)

Kosher salt
12 oz whole-wheat spaghetti
4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 small head of radicchio, halved, cored and thinly sliced
6 oz fontina, cubed
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add spaghetti and cook as label directs.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add 2 Tbs of olive oil.  Scatter the leeks in the skillet and season with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar.  Cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 10 minutes.

Drain pasta, reserving about 1 cup of cooking water.  Add pasta and the water to the pan with the leeks.  Add the remaining 2 Tbs oil, 1 tsp sugar and the balsamic vinegar.  Increase the heat to med-high and add radicchio and cheese. Toss until cheese melts.  Season with salt (to taste) and top with hazelnuts.

I've made a variation on this before, I had some random greens I used inplace of radicchio (can't remember now what it was) and fresh mozzerella in place of the fontina.  That came out good too but I really love the original.

1 comment:

  1. Had dinner at our good friends the Bullocks and this was served. Delicious! Michael could absolutely make this....