The Artisan of Flavour

Cooking Italian is a craftsman’s labour, the work of an Artisan of Flavour.

Rigatoni zafferano, radicchio e noci (Saffron, Radicchio and Walnuts Rigatoni)

If you’re asked to prepare something fine, quick, that can satisfy at the same time heart, soul and belly (always important) this pasta must definitely be kept in mind. Delicate and filling, extremely tasty and quick to prepare: it ticks a lot of nice boxes. No-one should rush in the kitchen but sometimes we don’t have the time we would like to have.

Any drawback? It is a bit costy if you have to buy all ingredients as saffron, proper radicchio and walnuts are quite expensive. However, if you ask me, the taste it’s certainly worth the money spent.

Difficulty: Low

Cost: Moderate to Expensive

Ready in: 30min

Ingredients for 2 people

. Rigatoni (180g)
. Walnuts (40g)
. Saffron (2g)
. Radicchio (some leaves)
. Cream (150ml)
. Black Ground Pepper
. Salt


Not to compromise the delicacy of the final taste, this recipe will not use any oil nor the sautéed vegetables normally used in stronger and heartier dishes.

Start by chopping the walnuts into very small pieces and lightly roast them in a nonstick pan. Choose a big one as you will build your sauce here, adding ingredients after ingredient, then eventually sauté the pasta here.

Using a food processor blend the radicchio leave leaves and add to the pan. Stir fry them radicchio and walnuts together for a couple of minutes then pour the cream. Radicchio and walnuts will give your sauce a nutty and gently bitter character. Cream will make sure it will also develop milky and silky flavours.

Add 2g of saffron, a pinch of salt, grind some black pepper and leave cooking on a very low heat. This will prevent the cream from boiling or cooking too fast and will allow the walnuts to release their flavour and oil into the sauce which will get a bit darker shade.

Cook the pasta (followin these rules) and when strained add to the pot with the sauce. Turn on the heat a bit and mix and stir for a couple of minutes; then serve.


. I am proposing this dish with rigatoni but you could easily use penne instead. If you want to try it with egg pasta, tagliatelle would be a great match and certainly not disappoint. Wherter you use short pasta or egg pasta, the essential bit is to keep the it well al dente.

. If you can’t find radicchio you can use chicory instead.


2 comments on “Rigatoni zafferano, radicchio e noci (Saffron, Radicchio and Walnuts Rigatoni)

  1. sofagirl
    May 7, 2013

    I have to try this. Sounds delish

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