Bitter Radicchio and Spicy Mustard Butter Pasta

by meike peters

Pasta dishes are one of my favorite dinners as they are very easy to prepare but they always give me the feeling that I have created something special. It’s always a little feast. My friend Judith told me about this wonderful combination of spaghetti, radicchio, dijon mustard butter and chicken liver (for those who don’t fancy liver this recipe also works very well without). I fell in love with the combination of spicy mustard butter and bitter radicchio which makes a very nice, velvety sauce for the pasta. Together with a glass of red wine this puts me in a cozy, relaxed mood, a perfect December evening dinner.

Once in a while I feel a strong appetite for liver so I bought some organic chicken liver today. When I was a child, my mother used to fry liver together with onion rings and thick apple slices and I loved it. I have a real weak spot for traditional comfort food. The recipe today will be lighter but still comfortable. I choose Linguine made by Delverde for our dinner, the most delicious pasta made with water from the Verde river in the Abruzzi region in Italy. Another family recommendation. Linguine fits very well when you want to mix your pasta with vegetables or meat and not only with a sauce as they have more bite than spaghetti.

Linguine with Radicchio, Mustard Butter and Chicken Liver

For a generous dinner for 2 people you need

pasta for 2, around 200g / 7 ounces
radicchio, quartered and chopped in 1cm slices, 300g / 10.5 ounces
butter 30g / 1 ounce plus for frying
smooth Dijon mustard 4-6 teaspoons
organic chicken liver, rinsed, dried and cleaned of their thicker skins, 150g / 5 ounces
brandy or red wine for deglazing
oil for frying
flour for dusting the liver
pasta water
salt and pepper

It doesn’t take long to prepare this meal but you will have to coordinate everything within 10 minutes. It is easiest to prepare as much as possible in advance before you start cooking.

Cook the pasta and take out a cup of the pasta water after it has been cooking for a few minutes as we need some of this liquid for the sauce.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan on low heat and mix in the mustard, it might curdle a bit, don’t worry. Add a good splash of the pasta water to get a more liquid sauce. Taste to see if the mustard comes through strong enough, you can make it quite tasty as it will get mixed with lots of pasta.

At the same time heat up some butter with a dash of oil in a frying pan. Mix a few tablespoons of flour with salt and pepper on a plate to turn the liver in. Fry the liver for a few minutes on medium heat but watch them as they don’t need long and dry out quickly. Deglaze with a tiny dash of brandy or wine, it should cook down straight away. Take the liver out and keep warm under a plate.

Pour some oil in the used but dry pan (wipe it with kitchen roll if necessary) and fry the sliced radicchio for a few minutes, turn and watch, it won’t need long either. Mix the cooked pasta in the pan together with the radiocchio and your mustard butter sauce. Season with salt and pepper and arrange on plates with the liver on top. Have a sip of your wine and relax!