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15 April 2016

Radicchio: 3 of the Best Ways to Enjoy Them

Bitter and spicy with red and white leaves. That's what radicchio (or Italian chicory) is to us. It is not everyone's favorite choice of vegetable because of its particular flavor but it lends a great flavor to a lot of dishes. It can be eaten raw and added to salads, cooked and mixed with vegetable side dishes, risotto, frittata, pasta or my favorite and perhaps the best - grilled then drizzled with a good kind of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Radicchio comes in different varieties but they always have the distinctive red and white coloring so they stand out in the vegetable stands. The most ubiquitous variety in the U.S. is the Chioggia which are available all-year round. It resembles a small cabbage and about the size of a grapefruit. Then there is the Treviso that resembles a Belgian endive. There are also others like the winter Castelfranco, Gorizia, Trieste, Witloof, and the king of all varieties, the Tardivo which had been designated the Protected Geographical Indication (IGP). This means that its cultivation is limited to the designated areas in the Padua, Treviso and Venice in Italy where they get the best flavors from the soil and natural elements in cultivating them. They require an intensive manual labor in a second growing period. 

There are 3 recipes here that use the radicchio as the protagonists. They are mostly traditional, no big surprises there, where I grilled them, mixed them in the risotto and frittata where you can use whatever variety of radicchio. Buon appetito!

Risotto with Radicchio, Walnuts and Gorgonzola

Adding radicchio to risotto is one of the most delicious ways to use this nutrient-packed vegetable. With the gorgonzola and walnuts, the flavor evolves into a wonderful combination of special tastes. Gorgonzola has quite peculiar taste like its other blue cheese counterparts and when you add it at the end of cooking the risotto, you will be in for a delectable surprise. 

Individual Frittata with Radicchio, Pancetta and Brie

Frittata is always a dependable dish for a quick and easy meal. You can practically mix it with almost any ingredient that you have available in the kitchen. It's one of those emergency dishes that I prepare at home. And when radicchio is in season, it's one of the best picks to use with this egg dish. Instead of cooking it in a saucepan, I decided to bake it in individual cocottes. Mixed with toasted pancetta and brie, you will smack your lips to goodness.

Grilled Radicchio with Pine Nuts and Balsamic Vinegar

Yes, this is my favorite alright for more reasons than its simplicity. It is the easiest recipe among the three and extremely healthy. For this particular recipe, I always use the Tardivo (although the Treviso would also be a great variety) because I love how striking the curly leaves looks like. When the radicchio is grilled, the flavor mellows to a well rounded taste and to complement its taste, just a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar make it a perfect dish. Sprinkle some pine nuts to add that nutty flavor and enjoy.

To get the full recipes of these 3 dishes, the Risotto with Radicchio, Walnuts and Gorgonzola, Individual Frittata with Radicchio, Pancetta and Brie, and the Grilled Radicchio with Pine Nuts and Balsamic Vinegar, click on the links that lead you to She Knows where I created them. You can see more of my recipes at my Profile Page there.