August 2, 2015 — Italian

Radicchio Tagliatelle with Speck & Rocket

  • 30 minutes
  • 4 PEOPLE
  • easy

‘…This week was the first time I’ve had Radicchio, and I love it, and it’s cheap! Mix it with my second favourite pasta and some speck, with a glass of milk to wash down… bravo!’

'It's pretty obvious now but anything pasta based makes me very happy. Radicchio is a new craving too...'

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Follow us on Instagram — @WhatDadCooked

What you need

150g speck sliced thinly (from the deli) and cut into thin strands (at home)

1 large sweet onion

1 large heavy head of radicchio – sliced thinly

140g wild rocket – half chopped roughly

80ml white wine (or chicken stock)

250g dried egg tagliatelle (De Cecco if possible) – follow recommended portions for pasta product used

Salt and pepper

Grated Parmesan to serve


Dad's Recipe Tales

So what is speck?

It is a norther Italian/Austrian ham.

Until recently I never cooked with speck… I’m learning about the cured meat better and how it compares with Parma ham. The main distinction is that speck is smoked and Parma ham is not. These types of smoked hams always remind me of delicatessen sandwiches, layered with sliced meats and Swiss cheese – the subtle hint of smoke is good.

Elsewhere, I often find the taste of smoke can dominate and spoil a dish. There are, however, many dishes where a smoked meats enhance the flavour: French braises such as petite sale, choucroute garni, and cassoulet or any number of Italian recipes which use smoked pancetta.

With this in mind, I set out to find recipes with speck. I was surprised by how few there are. However, I did come across a very good one – it combines radicchio with speck (from Antonio Carluccio’s, ‘Passion for Pasta‘). The rocket is hot and peppery, the radicchio bitter, the speck is sweet and smoky – with a little salt from the Parmesan and acidity from the wine or lemon making a good balance of flavours. The colour of cooked radicchio adds a new interest to pasta. My version is above.


How Dad Cooked It

  1. Set a large pan with about 4 litres of water and a large pinch of salt to the boil.
  2. Sweat the onion in a large frying pan, saute pan, or wok on medium heat for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the speck and let this cook through for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the wine and let this bubble and evaporate for a minute then add the radicchio and cook until soft and wilted.
  5. Add the chopped rocket, mix through. Check for seasoning. Turn off the heat, but keep warm.
  6. Cook the pasta until al dente, reserve a mug of pasta water and drain. Add to the radicchio and speck sauce, toss and stir through.
  7. Serve with the additional rocket and the Parmesan.
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