Lord knows I love my pasta and especially a simple, rustic version such as this. I’ve not often used wholemeal pasta but it married beautifully with the salty speck, earthy mushrooms and bitter radicchio that became so sweet when cooked. Such an amazing ingredient, radicchio. Not always available but when it is, I snap it up and we devour it. Not much more needs to be said about this recipe as words escape me. Yep, it was that good.
Prep time: 15 Minutes Cooking time: 20 Minutes $$ Medium Budget
Extra virgin olive oil for frying
500gm of wholemeal spaghetti (you can use normal if you prefer)
100gm of speck, sliced into little batons
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
250gm of mixed mushrooms (swiss brown, portobello, oyster, shiitake, black fungus……whatever takes your fancy)
1/2 a radicchio lettuce, roughly chopped
grated rind of 1 lemon
12 thyme sprigs, leaves removed and stalks discarded
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 a cup of dry white wine
2 tbs of pasta water
1/4 cup of toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Grated parmesan, thyme leaves and extra virgin olive oil for garnish & drizzling
Heat a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil and cook the spaghetti for approximately 12 minutes or until tender.
Heat a large frypan and fry the speck batons until golden and crispy. Scoop the speck out of the pan, set aside and discard most of the fat that has rendered out. Add a good lug of extra virgin olive oil and fry the mushrooms until soft and coloured. If you have oyster mushrooms, you may want to wait until the tougher mushrooms are softened before adding. Add the garlic, thyme leaves, lemon rind and speck to the pan, frying for a minute or so until aromatic and then pour in the lemon juice and wine. Allow the wine to reduce by about half and then add the radicchio, frying until just tender. Season with salt and pepper and add the pasta water just before draining the spaghetti and tossing the radicchio mixture through it.
To serve, divide the pasta between four serving bowls and sprinkle with a generous amount of parmesan cheese and chopped hazelnuts. Scatter over the thyme leaves and finish with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.