Ziti with spicy chicory and toasted Parmesan breadcrumbs

November 26, 2012

Ziti with spicy chicory and toasted Parmesan breadcrumbs

I often throw together this pasta (a one-stop meal!) when I’ve had a long, busy day. The only thing I need to buy is the chicory – the rest of the ingredients have a permanent spot in my pantry – so I don’t even have to come up with a shopping list.

Prepping the ingredients for this recipe is easy enough, so the dish comes together rather quickly and that’s just what this hungry, tired cook needs on such nights!

But the best part about this bowl of pasta is that every bite is as delicious as it is nourishing. The earthy greens, the spicy chili peppers, the chewy pasta, the savory, crunchy breadcrumbs – everything you could possibly want, or crave – is in this one beautiful bowl.

White wine iconTry a Roussanne from the northern Rhône. The grape owes its name to the distinctive reddish or “roux” color of its skin and produces rich, full-bodied, perfumed white wines. Roussanne’s wonderful aromatics pair marvelously with the wilted chicory and the spicy chili, while its weight stands up to the heft of the dish. Although the south of France is still Roussanne’s primary home, it’s now grown in California. Notable California wineries producing Roussanne include Alban Vineyards, Qupé Cellars and Tablas Creek.

Toasted Parmesan breadcrumbs

Ziti with Spicy Chicory and Toasted Parmesan Breadcrumbs

serves 4
active time: 40 min

For the toasted breadcrumbs

  1. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  3. sea salt to taste
  4. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  5. 1/4 cup finely grated Reggiano Parmesan

For the pasta

  1. 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1 medium red onion – skinned, quartered and cut crosswise in 1/8″ slices
  3. 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes to taste
  4. 4 large garlic cloves – skinned and very thinly sliced
  5. 1 1/2 lbs (680 g) chicory (or escarole) – thoroughly washed, spin-dried and leaves cut in 1″ pieces
  6. 3/4 to 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
  7. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  8. 1 tablespoon sea salt for the pasta water
  9. 12 oz (340 g) ziti
  10. 1/2 cup vegetable stock or reserved cooking water from boiling the pasta
  11. 2 tablespoons pine nuts

  1. Step 1: To make the breadcrumbs – Heat a small heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and breadcrumbs, stir until the breadcrumbs are well coated with the oil, and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until golden-brown. Transfer to a bowl. Add the salt, pepper and Parmesan. Stir until the cheese has melted, making sure the breadcrumbs don’t clump up. Set aside.
  2. Step 2: Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onions and pepper flakes. Stir well and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes until the onions are golden, stirring only occasionally. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for 30 seconds until the garlic has released its flavor, but don’t let it take on any color. Increase the temperature to high and add half the chicory. Sauté, tossing continuously as if you were tossing a salad, until the chicory has wilted. Add the balance of the chicory and sauté, tossing continuously, until wilted and all juices have evaporated. Season with the salt and pepper and remove pan from heat.
  3. Step 3: Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the salt and the ziti. Boil pasta until tender but still al dente. Drain well.
  4. Step 4: Return skillet to the stove and re-heat the chicory over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to sizzle, quickly add the pasta, stock (or reserved pasta water) and pine nuts. Toss well until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Spoon into warm pasta bowls, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and serve immediately.

Ziti with spicy chicory and toasted Parmesan breadcrumbs

pasta, ziti, chicory
© 2014 Viviane Bauquet Farre Food & Style NY LLC

Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Deb November 27, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Adore the vibrant color and flavor from the chicory! Fast and bursting with flavor is a scrumptious mid week dinner!


Viviane November 28, 2012 at 10:18 am

Thank you Deb! I’m a chicory aficionado too… Can never get enough of sautéed greens, especially when the weather gets cool!


Anita at Hungry Couple November 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Great idea for a busy weeknight supper!


Meghan December 3, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Beautiful dish full of wonderful flavors & textures! Love the addition of toasted pine nuts too!


Angie@Angie's Recipes December 7, 2012 at 7:54 am

A simple yet very beautiful and flavourful pasta dish.


laura January 17, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Lovely! So much you can do with this recipe…thanks for sharing.


Donna Ford February 13, 2013 at 10:45 am

This will be a first for me to try. Looks delicious!


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