Wholemeal Pasta with Radicchio and Walnuts
170 g (6 oz) wholemeal pasta (dried)
½ head of radicchio (150g/5 oz)
75g (2 ½ oz) leek
2 sage leaves
50 g (1 4/5 oz) fresh goat cheese, spreadable or plant based cream
30 g (1 oz) walnut halves (about 10)
2 tbsp olive oil Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, to serve
Salt and black pepper
Bring a large pot with salted water to boil for the pasta and start preparing the sauce. Chop the walnuts roughly and put aside. Discard any wilted outer leaves and the hard core of the radicchio and cut into thin strips. Trim the root end of the leek as well as the dark green leaves, then slice it thinly. When the water boils add the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the packet.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet (a deep sauté pan is ideal), add the radicchio, leek and sage leaves and cook over low heat stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Stir in 3 – 4 tablespoons of the water from pasta and continue cooking.
When the pasta is 2 – 3 minutes away from al dente, add half of the walnuts and the goat cheese to the vegetables, stirring until the cheese has melted, adding more pasta water as necessary to make a fairly liquid sauce. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Drain the pasta and turn it into the sauce, toss well. Divide the pasta between two bowls and scatter over the remaining walnuts and a turn of the pepper mill. Serve immediately with some parmesan cheese.
Wholemeal pasta with radicchio and walnuts is an original, tasty and healthy dish that can easily become vegan by eliminating the cheese and making the sauce with a plant based cream, such as soy. It is also quick and easy, prepared with few ingredients while the pasta is cooking. Radicchio has a long list of beneficial health properties, of which digestive and detoxification are the most well-known. In recent studies it has been noted for its high content of anthocyanins, the pigments responsible for the vibrant red-purple colour of its leaves, which are molecular compounds with a powerful antioxidant effect that influence the renewal of body cells to improve our health and prevent disease.