My inspiration for this dish begins with pappardelle (large, very broad, flat pasta noodles, similar to wide fettuccine, originating from the region of Tuscany), and comes from my friend Luca.
Earlier this year, I was in northern Italy and his place was my first stop. He and his beautiful wife, Elenora, own Due di Moro, a charming Bed and Breakfast with a breath-taking view of Lake Garda. Luca is a phenomenal chef! Not only does he use fresh fish from the lake and verdure di stagione (seasonal vegetables), but his hand-written menu only appears after his inspiration for the meal (usually mere hours before dinner).
In recreating his dish, I used red endive (from the chicory family and closely related to radicchio) instead of the local Raddicchio Rosa di Treviso. This radicchio, grown only in the Veneto region of Italy is nothing like the round red and white globes we get in the states. And of course Luca made fresh pappardelle pasta … I did not.
This lovely pasta dish, along with the sardine fresche di lago in crosta di patate (sardines baked under a whisper-thin crust of potatoes) will be added to my list of very happy food memories.
Grazie Mille Luca!
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 leek (white part only)
- 1 small red endive, chopped
- 3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin olive oil
- 2 cups roasted carrots, chopped into small chunks
- 1 tablespoon arugula or Italian parsley (plus a bit more for garnish)
- 4 ounces pappardelle pasta
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- In a large saucepan, saute the red onion in the olive oil.
- Cut the leek in half lengthwise, remove and discard the outer leaf of both halves, rinse well (keeping each half in tact).
- Thinly slice the leeks, add them and the endive to the saucepan with onion and saute until all is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the roasted carrots and arugula or parsley. Keep warm, while cooking the pasta.
- When the pasta is done, drain and add immediately to the vegetables, toss well with another tablespoon or 2 of extra-virgin olive oil.
- To serve, spoon into pasta bowls or plates, top with freshly grated Parmesan and a bit of chopped Arugula or parsley.
Grazie Mille Luca!