Am I the only one who thinks that radicchio looks like a baby brain? It's freaky looking, if you ask me.
Hmmmm, I wonder... [dream sequence]
Kids: "Hey Mom, what's for dinner?"
"Baby Brains! Muwhahaha" Evil Chef Momma shrieks while laughing manically and holding up a head of radicchio.
Kids screaming "Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!" while running out of the room.
Baked Penne With Radicchio and Sausage: (House Beautiful April 2008 from the book Two Meatballs Italian Kitchen by Pino Luongo & Mark Strausman)
8 ounces sweet Italian sausage (about 2) removed from casings and crumbled
8 ounces hot Italian sausage (about 2 ) removed from casings and crumbled
1 small head radicchio, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 pound of penne
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an 8x12 inch baking dish.
Heat a 10x12 inch skilled over medium heat. When it is hot, add the sausage. Cook, breaking up the sausage into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the fat is rendered and the sausage has lost its pink color. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Add the radicchio, stir well, and cook, stirring until it is soft and well blended with the sausage, about four minutes. Season with salt to taste, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, fill a 10-quart stockpot with 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons salt. Add the pasta, stir, and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and add to the bowl with the sausage. Add the milk and eggs and mix well. Pour into the prepared dish and sprinkle the top with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Transfer to the oven and bake until the top looks a bit crunch and golden, 20-25 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.
This dish plays into that rich and creamy baked pasta type deal but then you add the bitterness of the radicchio and some heat from the hot Italian sausages and you have something totally different and complex. I made a simple green salad with a blood orange vinaigrette to give the meal just a hint of sweetness.
*update on creepy baseball coach.... four players have left the team.