A Veneto Touch of Bitter: Radicchio, Clams & Soave
Radicchio and the Veneto
Radicchio is a very popular vegetable in the Veneto which finds its way into many dishes. My guess is that there’s something about that radicchio bitterness that appeals to tastebuds in this region. We found similar flavors echoed in the Soave wines.
The radicchio we get in Minnesota isn’t the same variety as is found in the Veneto, but it does have that trademark bitterness. We snagged one of the last local heads of radicchio this fall from Uproot Farm at Fulton Farmers Market. Perfect timing to try it in a recipe from the Veneto!
Linguine with Clams & Radicchio
We love linguine with clams in every version we’ve ever tried; white sauce, red sauce, you name it. We’ve never had one like this though, and it was very nice. Sautéeing the radicchio softens the bitterness just the right amount. It turned out to be a perfect test for a couple of Soaves.
We would usually make fresh pasta, but tonight we were just too tired, and a nice dry linguine was just fine. Not as nice as fresh, but good nonetheless.
Most of the radicchio is sautéed, but be sure to save some as a colorful garnish.
Inama Soave Classico 2013 ($15 at Surdyk’s)
Eye: Clear, light warm toned yellow
Nose: Waxy, ripe pears but not too rich. There’s a touch of bitter almond in the background.
Mouth: Medium texture, nice acidity but not too tart, smooth. Impression of ripe lemons.
Tasted by itself, we liked the Inama a bit better than the Pieropan.
Pieropan Soave Classico 2013 ($15 at Surdyk’s)
Eye: Clear light yellow, lighter than the Inama, but not by much.
Nose: Ripe pears, just a bit of rich beeswax. Bitterness in the background, just a bit more than the Inama.
Mouth: Medium mouthfeel, but a little on the lean side. Good acidity is hidden in there. A bit mineral, more so than the Inama.
On the whole, the Pieropan was lighter, leaner and more mineral than the Inama.
Which Soave with Radicchio?
The Pieropan didn’t show quite as well by itself as the Inama Soave Classico, but it was better with radicchio & clams pasta. Somehow, that little bit of minerality paired beautifully with the slight bitterness in the radicchio. By themselves, either wine was a very nice pairing with the clams and radicchio. Because we had the opportunity to try both, side by side, we could pick a favorite with this dish.
This recipe is sized as a main dish for two. If you serve it as a primi, increase the pasta to 6 oz., and it will serve 4. Ingredients Instructions
Linguini w/ Radicchio & Clams
This recipe is sized as a main dish for two. If you serve it as a primi, increase the pasta to 6 oz., and it will serve 4.