Radicchio is a chicory very specific to certain areas of northern Italy, especially Veneto. There are a few varieties, but Chioggia (the round kind) and Treviso (the elongated kind) are the most common. I have only ever seen Treviso in Sydney, so that's what I have used for this recipe, but the round variety works just as well. It is a bit bitter, but I love it… I mean, look at that color! So pretty! It can be eaten both raw, in salads, or cooked (the way I like it the most).
Radicchio is often not the first choice when it comes to kids, as many of them do not like its bitterness, but I find that when it is cooked and mixed with a little cream and Parmigiano-Reggiano, it tastes delicious and not so bitter any more.
See all pappardelle recipes.
Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and Italian speck and sauté until the onion becomes translucent, a couple of minutes.
Add the radicchio and season with salt, to taste. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 10 minutes. (Adding water shouldn't be necessary since radicchio usually creates a little liquid while cooking, but do keep an eye on it and adjust as needed. The end result should be rather dry, though.) Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pappardelle and cook for 1 minute less than the recommended time on the package directions (it will finish cooking together with the sauce). Drain the pasta.
Put the drained pasta in the pot with the radicchio and speck sauce, add the cream, and mix well while cooking over low heat for 1 or 2 minutes. Serve with thinly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and season with pepper, to taste.