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Chicken & Radicchio Pasta Salad

Post # 200.

Amazing–it feels like just yesterday that I decided to make an apple pie (well, two–I’ve never been the type to do things by halves) and then blog it!¬† But, 200 posts later, I’m still loving the blogging world!

I also added a new page to the blog today–called “Top 100″.¬† It’s a list from the New York Times naming the top 100 novels from 1923–present.¬† I’ve started using it as an inspiration when I want to combine what I’m¬†reading by chance¬†(read: books I choose based on their titles and covers alone) with something that will definitely enrich my selection¬†and hopefully make me a little smarter, too.¬† And nerdier?¬† Definitely.¬† So check it out and let me know if you’ve read any of them, and which ones you think I should tackle next.

In last week’s CSA box we received¬†a head of radicchio, which I had never tried before.¬† When I googled it and discovered that is it very bitter, I got a little nervous.¬† I am frankly just not a fan of bitter greens, so I knew I’d have to cook this to make it palatable.

And of course¬†I was also¬†hoping to somehow make it beyond palatable into something more delicious.¬† I¬†adapted this pasta salad recipe¬†from Food & Wine’s Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes,¬†from¬†Laura Pensiero’s Hudson Valley Mediterranean.¬† Her mantra is:

Eat healthy, enjoy food, live well, and never sacrifice flavor.

Now that is a mantra I can get behind.

Chicken & Radicchio Pasta Salad Printable Recipe Card

  • 8 oz dry whole-wheat pasta (I used macaroni)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small head radicchio, shredded (for a shredding tutorial, go here)
  • 12 oz chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 C frozen peas
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 t dried garlic)
  • 1 1/2 t mustard (I used Trader Joe’s Hot and Sweet Mustard–mmm)
  • 1/2 C chicken broth
  • 1/4 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente.¬† Drain and place in a large bowl–this is where the entire salad is going to end up, so make sure there’s enough room.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, and saute the onion until translucent and beginning to brown.¬† Add the radicchio¬†and saute for a few more minutes until it cooks down, but not until it’s totally limp.¬† Add the onions and radicchio to the pasta bowl, and mix.¬† Now is a good time to add the frozen peas, too–the hot pasta will defrost ‘em.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the (now empty) skillet.  Cook the garlic until fragrant (30 seconds or so), and add the chicken, saute until golden brown and cooked through.  Add the mustard and chicken broth, and cook until the broth reduces volume by half.  Lastly, pour in the Parmesan cheese and stir until it melts and forms a nice, thick sauce.

Add the chicken mixture to the macaroni bowl.¬† Mix.¬† Taste.¬† Be surprised that the radicchio, though bitter, isn’t bad.¬† Taste again.¬† Salt and pepper to taste, toss it one more time, and steal one more taste.

Yum.  Serve either warm, at room temperature, or cool.  It is totes up to you.

I really enjoyed this pasta dish–definitely an entr√©e¬†and not a side, and full of different textures.¬† The radicchio was still bitter, but not overwhelming.¬† I had this for lunch today with half of a grilled zucchini and a roasted beet: vegetable city.

For people who¬†don’t need to use up their CSA veggies and don’t like bitter greens, you can make this recipe with spinach or Swiss chard, too.¬† But if you can, give radicchio a chance (because it’s always good to add some variety in your diet!).

Speaking of CSA boxes, say hello to week seven:

And say hello to radicchio number two–guess I’ll have to find another cooked radicchio recipe for this week, too.¬† Any suggestions?

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  1. katshealthcorner

    I LOVE YOUR MANTRA!!! It is so true. :)

  2. dred

    tasty :D

  3. blackhuff

    I love how you adapt the recipes. So cool and original :)

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thanks–usually it’s out of necessity (i only have this, i don’t like that…) :)

  4. selina

    I love radicchio in salads with sweetcorn and avocado (along wiith every thing else i can find) and a tart vinaigrette dressing, the creamyness of the avocado and sweetness of the corn deflect from the bitterness a bit :)

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      oooh that does sound good–anything with corn and avocado HAS to be good, right?

      1. selina

        precisely i think i could literally live on avocado and sweetcorn everyday i add it to so many things, it is especially good on bread noms!

  5. Nuts about food

    I have a great radicchio pasta recipe that totally erases the bitterness, you just reminded me of it. Will post about it soon, when it gets a tad cooler here. I tend to often buy books based on the cover and title too and when they are bad I always ask myself why I am doing something so silly. Off to read your list. Oh, congrats on your 200 posts. Hope there are many more to come.

  6. Danielle

    That pasta salad looks beautiful! I grew up eating radicchio in salad, alongside a green lettuce. Usually the ratio is about 3:1 green lettuce to radicchio. You should try it out. I don’t think it is that bitter and tearing it up small helps. I love this recipe though if you are wanting to cook it still: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/tassajara-warm-red-cabbage-salad-recipe.html

  7. Tammy

    I like to brush it with olive oil and then grill it. Sprinkle it with a cheese that you like such as smoky mozzarella and keep it on the grill until it melts.

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