Pasta With Radicchio and Pancetta


Chicories pair naturally with cured, fat-streaked meats: They absorb the rendered drippings and extra salt without losing their vibrancy and pleasantly bitter notes. This pasta from Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer matches radicchio with pancetta, garlic, cream, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Use a nonreactive pan so the radicchio leaves retain their color. 

Pasta with Radicchio and Pancetta
Photo: Hirsheimer and Hamilton
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed

  • 1 medium (about 8 ounces) red onion, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices

  • 1/4 cup dry red wine

  • 4 ounces diced pancetta (about 1 cup)

  • 2 small heads radicchio (about 3/4 pound), trimmed, cored, quartered, and cut into 1-inch-wide strips (about 6 cups)

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 pound dried pappardelle, torcetti, or gemelli pasta

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving


  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy, nonreactive skillet over medium. Add garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant and golden, about 2 minutes. Discard garlic. Add onion; cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add wine and simmer until almost completely reduced, about 2 minutes. Add pancetta; cook, stirring often, until fat has rendered, about 4 minutes. Add radicchio, red pepper, and sugar; fold with tongs to combine and coat radicchio with the oil, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain pasta. Melt butter in pasta pot over medium. Return pasta to pot and add heavy cream, shaking pot and gently stirring to avoid tearing noodles, until pasta is coated, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon pasta onto 4 plates and top with radicchio mixture. Top with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately.

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