Photograph by David Malosh Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero 
Prop Styling by Amy Wilson

Bitter: Taste

Spaghetti with Shredded Radicchio and Black Olives

Starters from Issue 12 - Winter 2018 – The Senses

In Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, Patrick Bateman ponders his dining companions’ gruesome demises over free-range squid and radicchio. Could his affinity for the Italian chicory have been a sign of his sinister side? A study by Appetite found that people who preferred bitter foods had more aggressive and antisocial tendencies than others. But if loving our spaghetti laced with threads of bitter radicchio is wrong, we don’t want to be right.

serves 4

  • 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil , divided
  • 2 cups large crumbs torn from day-old crustless bread
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ¾ lb whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 large head radicchio (about ¾ lb), shredded
  • ½ cup cup pitted black, oil-cured Moroccan olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest, plus wedges from 1 lemon
  • grated Parmesan for serving

  • 1

    Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add crumbs and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Stir in parsley and transfer crumbs to a plate. Wipe out skillet and reserve.

  • 2

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until barely al dente, about 2 minutes less than package instructions. Reserve a cup of pasta water, then drain.

  • 3

    While pasta cooks, heat 2 Tbsp oil in skillet over medium-high heat and sauté shallot until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add radicchio and cook, stirring, until wilted and darkened, 3-4 minutes. Toss in olives. Add pasta to skillet and season with pepper. Add ¾ cup of pasta water, stirring together over medium heat until water has been mostly absorbed, about 1 minute. Stir in lemon zest and remaining Tbsp oil.

  • 4

    Serve pasta with a squeeze of lemon, parsley crumbs, and Parmesan.