Pasta with Gorgonzola, Radicchio, Walnuts, and Orange

December  1, 2017
3 Ratings
Photo by Alexandra Stafford
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

From Colu Henry's Back Pocket Pasta

This dish comes together so quickly and is so delicious. If you're up for a search—and you probably won't have to look too hard—try to find Treviso, which is what Colu suggests, and which is in season right now. I found it at Whole Foods Market. I like how it holds its shape a bit better than radicchio, and I prefer its milder flavor. Radicchio is fine, too, of course, but the times I've made this with Treviso, I've especially loved it.

Quantity of radicchio: You'll need about a pound, so depending on the size of your heads of radicchio, you may need more than one. I used two small heads, each weighing about 9 oz. If you can't find radicchio, you can use other bitter greens such as escarole in its place.

Pasta: This is a dish that my husband and I gobble up, but that my children don't go for (yet!). Because of this, I cook a half pound of pasta instead — it yields plenty of food for the two of us; I would say it serves 3 comfortably — and it's especially saucy and vegetable-loaded this way. You can use any shape of pasta you like. I love the pipettes.

One final note: This is going to sound silly, but to get a better photo, after I sautéed the radicchio, I scooped it out, and melted the cheese separately, then folded in the pasta and other ingredients and then the radicchio in last minute just before snapping a photo. I really wanted the photo to look more appetizing, because I love this dish and want people to make it. When the radicchio melts with the sauce, it turns the sauce more purply. It all tastes exactly the same, but for enticement purposes, I used a little trickery ... just this once! —Alexandra Stafford

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pounds pasta, such as penne or gemelli, see notes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 to 2 heads radicchio, preferably Treviso (if you can find it), cut into 1-inch-wide ribbons, see notes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces crumbled gorgonzola or other mild blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • zest of 1 orange, plus the juice (optional)
  • grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano, for serving, optional
  1. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and toast them over medium-low heat for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently so they do not burn. Remove and set aside. Wipe out skillet.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and return to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to the package directions.
  3. While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce: Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the radicchio and season with salt and pepper. Cook the radicchio until it begins to wilt and brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the gorgonzola and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water directly from the pot and simmer for 3 minutes more. The water should emulsify the cheese and create a velvety texture.
  5. Scoop the cooked pasta directly into the skillet (alternatively, drain, reserving plenty of the pasta cooking liquid) and toss to combine the pasta with the sauce. Add the walnuts and parsley and toss again until glossy, adding 1/4 cup of pasta water or more (up to 1 cup), as needed to loosen up the sauce. Add the zest and toss to combine. Taste. Adjust as needed with more salt and pepper. I've been juicing the orange directly into the pot—I like the acidity/flavor/sweetness—but this is optional.
  6. Plate in bowls and pass the grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiana Reggiano.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alexandra Stafford
    Alexandra Stafford
  • meghan
  • Jeff A schneekloth
    Jeff A schneekloth
  • Hina
I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.

4 Reviews

meghan October 25, 2020
Years later, I am still making this pasta dish. It is so fast to pull together but tastes like hours. I had to finally leave a comment because my partner asks for it on a monthly basis (which is rare for him to ask for anything except "quesadillas"). Thank you so much!
Jeff A. January 15, 2018
Gorgonzola is a magnet to me! your recipe sounds lovely, and a dish i would have served in my restaurant! jeffrey
Hina December 10, 2017
Made this this evening for family and everyone raved. The combination of flavors is incredible. Used a mild gorgonzola and the juice of the orange. Thank you v much for a lovely and quick recipe that pleased us all and was so satisfying to make and eat.
Alexandra S. December 11, 2017
So happy to hear this, Hina!