FETTUCINE WITH RADICCHIO, BASIL AND BALSAMICO
Ingredients for 4 servings:
3 large, compact heads radicchio
2 thick slices bacon (Nueske preferred), diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, peeled and diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 dozen basil leaves, rolled and thinly sliced (en chiffonade)
2/3 cup Herb Broth
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded, squeezed into sauce (or canned)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound dry fettucine
1/4 cup balsamico
1 + cups freshly grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan
Heat 4 quarts of water in a pot with a slotted insert.
Quarter the heads of radicchio, trim the root ends and thinly slice into strips. Saute the bacon pieces with olive oil in a large, nonreactive skillet until lightly browned. Add the onion pieces and radicchio, and stir over high heat to wilt these ingredients. Make and opening in the middle of the skillet for the garlic and basil. Stir them together in the pan, then with the remaining ingredients.
Continuing over high heat, stir in the broth and tomato pieces. Cook, stirring frequently until sauce is reduced and thickens. Off the heat add salt to taste.
Cook the pasta until it is al dente, offering a slight resistance to the bite. Strain the pasta. and toss it into the sauce along with 1/4 cup balsamico, a few grindings of black pepper, and 1/2 the reserved radicchio. Taste for a balance of sweet and tart, adding more vinegar only as needed.
Serve with the remaining radicchio as a garnish. Pass the cheese at the table.