Sunday Pasta™: Mardi Gras Rigatoni con Zafferano, Piselli e Radicchio (Saffron and Peas)

How do you rate this?
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars
(4 votes, average: 9.00 out of 10)

Share This Article

Sunday Pasta Mardi Gras Rigatoni 940

“Down in New Orleans where the blues was born, it takes a cool cat to blow a horn…” as the song goes.  It maybe Mardi Gras weekend, but Sunday Pasta must go on, even with a hangover.

To get fully in the spirit, I’ve taken a few creative liberties for the desired colorful result. If you didn’t know, the colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold. Thus, I’ve decided that so should Sunday Pasta this week: Rigatoni allo zafferano, piselli e radichhio (Rigatoni with saffron, peas and radicchio).

Have no fear, it you don’t have radicchio you can omit it, and frankly, I meant to use eggplant, but couldn’t find any at the market, so feel free to substitute. (And Bob, you can omit the delicious pancetta if you need to veg out.)

Sunday Pasta ™: Mardi Gras Rigatoni con Zafferano, Piselli e Radicchio (Saffron and Peas)

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4-6


1 lb rigatoni (or other tubular pasta)
1/2 cup olive oil
8 oz green peas (defrosted)
6 oz pancetta (cubed)
1 onion (diced)
1 small radicchio (sliced thickly)
1 teaspoon saffron
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan cheese


In a large skill, saute the onion until translucent, then add the pancetta. Cook until the onion is golden brown and the pancetta is cooked through. Add the peas and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, and then add the radicchio, cooking until wilted. Add salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until 1 minute shy of al dente and drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Into the reserved cooking water, add the saffron and stir until bright yellow.

Add the pasta to the pea and radicchio mixture, and then mix in the saffron water. Stir until hot, and serve immediately with a sprinkle of parmesan.

Check out our wine pairings to compliment this dish.

Buon Appetito and Happy Mardi Gras!

Ed Garrubbo, Editor

Edwin Garrubbo

Edwin Garrubbo

Ed Garrubbo has been studying, cooking, searching for, and thinking about la cucina italiana for as long as he can remember. He cooks a wide range of Italian dishes, but loves his pasta most. He visits restaurants, cooking schools, markets, and food artisans across Italy, and wherever Italians practice their craft. He is a member of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina, and is a citizen of both the United States and Italy.

Leave a comment