August 2, 2015 — Italian
‘…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!’
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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
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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.
A perfect winter warmer – Cassoulet!
Try Dad’s loaded low-fat salsa quesadillas with The Laughing Cow Lightest x8 cheese.
An excellent way to turn a popular Italian slow food standard into an easy and quicker family classic.
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