Pasta with Guanciale, Radicchio and Ricotta


To make this rich pasta, chef Nancy Silverton sautés guanciale (cured pork jowl) and then cooks the radicchio and red onions in the rendered fat. She likes to use a little-known pasta called calamarata—which looks like thick squid rings—to catch the sauce, but any wide, tubular pasta is great. Slideshow:  More Pasta Recipes 

Pasta with Guanciale, Radicchio and Ricotta
Photo: © John Kernick
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 1/2 pound calamarata or other short, wide tubular pasta

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 3 medium red onions, cut into 8 wedges each

  • Kosher salt

  • 6 ounces guanciale or pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

  • 1/4 small head of radicchio, torn into 2-inch pieces

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 1/3 cup fresh ricotta cheese

  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts


  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large, straight-sided skillet, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the onions, season with salt and toss to coat with the oil. Cook over high heat until the onions are just beginning to soften, about 1 minute. Stir in 3/4 cup of water and cook until the water is evaporated and the onions are just tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in the guanciale and cook, stirring, until the fat is rendered and the guanciale is lightly browned and crisp, about 7 minutes.

  3. Carefully drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet. Stir in the pasta along with the pecorino, radicchio and the reserved pasta water. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until hot, about 1 minute. Season the pasta with salt and pepper and top with dollops of the ricotta. Transfer the pasta to a large serving dish, sprinkle with the walnuts and top with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.

Suggested Pairing

Lively Sangiovese-based Montefalco Rosso is a great contrast for rich dishes like this one.

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