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The Whole Wheat Pasta That Changed Alice Waters' Mind About Whole Wheat Pasta

Katherine Guzman | November 6, 2013 | Story Ingredient

She planted the seeds for the garden-to-plate focus of nearly every restaurant in the state. But when we asked Chez Panisse’s Alice Waters which recipe from her newest cookbook, The Art of Simple Food II (released last week), was the biggest evolution for her, she pointed at this one: Whole-wheat spaghetti with mergez sausage and radicchio.

Forty years ago, the empress of organics would’ve turned a nose up at the mere thought of whole grain anything, “especially pasta.” But, she explains, “Now I think whole wheat pasta is not only nutritious but delicious. Everyone is experimenting with whole grains at the moment, myself included”. Well, if that’s not an invitation to try the recipe yourself, we don’t know what is!

Treviso Radicchio, Merguez Sausage, and Whole-Wheat Spaghetti
4 servings

Trim and cut crosswise into wide ribbons:

2 large or three medium heads of Treviso radicchio

Rinse in a colander and let drain.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, and add:

2 teaspoons olive oil
8 merguez sausages, or 4 spicy pork sausages

Cook until browned and just cooked through. Prick the sausages to release some of the juices, then remove them from the pan and set aside to keep warm.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add:

3/4 pound whole-wheat spaghetti

While the pasta cooks, wilt the radicchio in the sausage juices in the sauté pan over medium heat. Just before the pasta is cooked al dente, make a well in the radicchio in the pan, and add:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped

Let the garlic soften, then stir into the wilted radicchio. Add, to taste:

Fresh-ground black pepper
2 to 3 teaspoons sweet red wine vinegar

Add the cooked pasta to the pan, toss everything together, and add a splash of the pasta water to keep it loose. Taste and adjust for salt and vinegar, if needed. Serve on warm plates with the sausages.

Reprinted from The Art of Simple Food II. Copyright (c) 2013 by Alice Waters. Illustrations copyright (c) 2013 by Patricia Curtan. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House LLC.

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