May 13, 2010

Ditalini with Radicchio and Peas


A display of fresh, healthy vegetables cast a smile upon my face. Beautiful garnet orbs displayed beneath a wealth of artichokes (artichokes too—I must be seeing things—am I in the right store?). Quick inspection. A retrieval of one, bound for my basket.

Subject: dinner tonight
Pasta with peas and radicchio?
I found a nice head of radicchio today...
We could do ditalini.

Subject: RE: dinner tonight
Sure, give it a whirl. :)

Subject: RE: dinner tonight
I think it will be good. :)


But the sky was falling as I prepped. Rain Rain Go Away!

Resigned, I pressed on. No photos tonight. Out of my hands. Frustration.


Half a bag frozen peas (rinsed of their icy coat and set to drain in a strainer on a plate).

A stack of gingerly peeled radicchio leaves (their cups skyward).

The aluminum skillet caught the rest (heaps of extra virgin olive oil, a chopped clove of garlic and shallot, a torrential shower of crushed red pepper).

One half pound ditalini.

On standby, half a lemon, white wine, cream, salt and pepper.


Everything was a go. I poured the peas into the pan. As they warmed I salted the boiling water and dropped the pasta (a quick stir—setting the timer for perspective-sake).

A salt and pepper of the peas, a glug glug glug of wine, a squeeze of lemon. The spray from the pan bounced out of the pan and onto the stainless steel cook top. Argh! The flame was gentle all the while.

Stir the pasta. Check the time. Stir the peas. Add the radicchio. Salt. Taste. Salt. Taste. Salt. My pinches must be lacking. Taste. Good.

"It looks like bacon." I said.

"It does. You know what would be good? Peas and bacon." He said.

"I know. Bacon would be good in this. Next time." I said.

I had it. It was handled. All under my control. Nervous, to say the least. I'll just die if this doesn't taste good.

Reserve of pasta water. Ditalini drained and added to pan. Loads of stirring and grinds of pepper. A few splashes of cream (that's all we ever do—it's never heaps or exaggerated glugs—honest). A bit of chopped parsley.

It was time to plate. I mounded lovely piles into our bowls and brought them to the table. We sprinkled on a nice mix of grated parm and romano cheeses. Spoons-to-pasta-to-mouths.

He said it first. "This is good."

In a slight state of shock I responded. "This IS good."

"Good job." He said.

"Thank you." I said smiling.

A welcomed sigh of relief. I hoovered my bowl, to say the least. Enough for seconds for us both and leftovers for my lunch the following day, this day.


  1. This looks so lovely! I wish I had some of your leftovers for my lunch! I adore radicchio in pasta dishes.

  2. Ooh lovely. Are you sure about just the splash of cream? Cooking the peas in wine sounds good.

  3. Well done!! :-) I thought you should be the first to know, I made pasta this week. And LOVED it!! :-) You're winning me over! :-)

  4. Sounds wonderful - I love pulling pastas together like this, each one a touch different from the last and accented with whatever fresh produce is on hand - the bitterness of the radicchio next to the sweet peas and winey lemon flavors sounds so nice. I also like your softly lit cloudy day photos. ( :

  5. your e mails and calls about what to have for supper/Lunch make me smile. This sounds good and planted a raddichio/pea (bacon) pasta in my head which will itch until I make it. I think there is space in a suitase for a chittara, they are very light.

  6. looks delish! your writing reads like a mystery/ detective story. i felt like i was in the middle of a jonathan lethem novel, waiting, and reading on and on to find out what would happen next! good ending :)
    p.s. thanks for stopping by!!

  7. This looks great. I love peas... John doesn't.! Love the daily "what's for dinner?" e-mails.

  8. I just made a pasta with peas dish yesterday evening. I've never paired peas with radicchio. It looks good.

  9. Tracy, get some lights!! or you could make a lightbox, but I do think its kinda cute to take a picture the next morning :-)

  10. oh, my dinner was similar...pasta with peas...but instead of radicchio....well...meatballs :)

  11. Photos of radicchio always make me things of old paintings. Yours are so beautifully composed and capture the texture of this wonderful ingredient. Beautiful and inspiring recipe too.

  12. Katie - This was a first in pasta for me. Glad I made the leap.

    Kath - Yep, just splashes :)

    Tart - Pasta can be a persuasive beast!

    laura - Thank you. Yes, I love the way you describe it :)

    rachel - Franco has pulled many a bottle of grappa home with him. He never brings back a light suitcase. He might have to do some arranging though. Glad to know that it's light.

    elizabeth - Thanks for stopping by :) I had to go back and reread. I like that it was mystery-story-like!

    Michele - Roberto is not a huge fan of beans, but I'm winning him over :)

    Denise - It's a great flavor pairing. I think peas must be in the air.

    strawberries - No lights allowed in our house. Natural light only. :)

    M. - you're talking! :)

    Vanessa - Thank you :) It was a mad dash of sorts that morning to get the photos. Happy with the results though.

  13. I'm on board except for the radicchio part--it's too bitter for me. My limit is red cabbage. :-)

  14. Bravo on the scrumptious pasta. Boo for bad picture taking weather.


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