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Risotto with Radicchio

Risotto with Radicchio
Only two of the several varieties of purplish red radicchio, a member of the chicory family, have regularly found their way to markets outside of Italy. The most commonly found radicchio, often used in salads, is the round radicchio di Verona. The preferred variety for cooking is radicchio di Treviso, whose elongated heads are harvested in autumn. Treviso radicchio is also delicious grilled or braised.

Ingredients:

  • 7 to 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 oz. pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 heads Treviso or Verona radicchio, thinly sliced
      crosswise, plus 12 small whole Verona radicchio
      leaves for serving
  • 3 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a gentle simmer and maintain over low heat.

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the pancetta and sauté until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until just softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the thinly sliced radicchio and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the radicchio mixture to a bowl. Set aside and keep warm.

Add the rice to the same pan and stir until each grain is well coated with oil and translucent with a white dot in the center, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed.

Add the simmering stock a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed (but the rice is never dry on top) before adding the next ladleful. Reserve 1/4 cup stock to add at the end.

When the rice is tender to the bite but slightly firm in the center and looks creamy, after about 20 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the butter and the reserved 1/4 cup stock. Season with salt and pepper. Place 2 Verona radicchio leaves on each plate. Spoon the risotto into the leaves. Make a well in the center and spoon in the radicchio mixture. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Risotto, by Pamela Sheldon Johns (Simon & Schuster, 2002).