Radicchio: Two Ways

February 16, 2017

My last post was all about why I strive to eat seasonally whenever I can, and how it can be made as easy as possible.  In case you missed it, you can check it out here.  That post got a lot a love which is so great, so I wanted to dedicate the next couple of recipe posts to incredible dishes made up of basic winter vegetables. Today’s post is about radicchio: chioggia radicchio (the round one) and treviso radicchio (the tall one)- both beautiful, both nutrition packed and both so flavourful. The first recipe is for baked radicchio and baby romaine lettuce wedges, topped with a sunflower seed crumble.  The second is for tagliatelle smothered in radicchio and roasted almond pesto and topped with caramelised radicchio chips. If those doesn’t make you fall head over heals in love with the glorious vegetable, I don’t know what will.
The depth of flavour going on with the radicchio and romaine lettuce wedges will blow your mind. I used to stay clear of radicchio when I was younger, for its somewhat bitter taste, but the bitterness turns into sweetness when roasted and is broken down when paired with balsamic vinegar.  The stronger radicchio wedges are then balanced by the milder romaine wedges, which absorb the olive oil and seasoning so wonderfully and then the whole thing is topped with a sunflower seed crumble which gives it all a great crunch.  I’ve been making this as a side or starter for the past couple of weeks, but you could easily pair it with some brown rice, add a killer tahini dressing and call it a meal.
Now for the carbs!  I was raised in Italy- so it’s only natural that I have a deep love for pasta and I’m a student so it’s even more natural that I have a deep love for pesto.  The possibilities with these two are endless.  This pesto is made with treviso radicchio which has a milder flavour than the one used for the roasted wedges, and is great for using raw as it is here.  The radicchio is blended with roasted almonds, crushed garlic and olive oil and then the creamy mixture is smothered onto tagliatelle, or any long pasta.  A little goes a long way with radicchio, so I only use one for the pesto and sauté the other until sweet to fold into the pasta at the end.
Baked Radicchio and Romaine Lettuce Wedges with Sunflower Seed Crumble 
Serves 2-4

Baked Radicchio and Romaine Lettuce Wedges
2 chioggia radicchio (round)
2 baby romaine lettuce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Pinch of sea salt

Sunflower Seed Crumble
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 180˚.
Remove the outer layers of the radicchio and lettuce. Once removed, cut the radicchio into 4 wedges, and the lettuce in half. Spread the wedges face up on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and salt and use your hands to make sure both the back and front of the wedges are coated evenly. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar on the radicchio wedges alone and do the same as with the oil- coat evenly using your hands. You’ll want to bake the wedges for around 12-13 minutes, and then turn them over on the baking sheet for another 10 minutes so they’re soft and crispy.
Spread the 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds on a separate baking sheet and toast them in the oven at the same time as the wedges are cooking. Remove until fragrant- about 10-15 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and transfer them to a food processor. Add in the tablespoon of olive oil and the pinch of salt, and pulse until crumbly.
When there are only a few minutes of cooking time remaining for the wedges, flip them face up one last time, top evenly with the sunflower seed crumble and let bake for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the wedges from the oven, and serve them up with a drizzle of olive oil. These are great both hot or at room temperature.

Radicchio and Roasted Almond Pesto
Serves 4

1 treviso radicchio (long)
1/2 cup almonds
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp salt

350g tagliatelle (or any other whole wheat long pasta you can find)
1 treviso radicchio
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Pinch of salt

Start by roasting the almonds. Pre-heat your oven to 180˚C and once heated, roast the almonds on a baking sheet for 10-15 minutes. Remove the almonds and let cool for a couple of minutes. Place the almonds in a food processor and blend until crumbly. Remove 2 tablespoons worth and set aside.
Remove the outer leaves of the radicchio and give it a rough chop. Place the chopped radicchio into your food processor with the almonds and pulse for about a minute. Then add in the olive oil, crushed garlic and salt. Blend for a couple of minutes wiping down the sides every now and then, until creamy.
Put some water to boil, salt it, and when ready start cooking the tagliatelle. While these cook, you can start sautéing the other radicchio. As you did with the other, remove the outer leaves and chop. Sauté these over medium heat with coconut oil and a pinch of salt until slightly translucent and add in the balsamic vinegar until caramelised – 3-4 minutes – and then set them aside.
When the pasta is ready, save 2 tablespoons of the cooking water and drain. Put the drained pasta back in the same pot, add in the pesto and the two tablespoons of cooking water and mix well. When fully combined, add in the caramelised sautéed radicchio and stir.
Serve hot topped with the crushed roasted almonds set aside at the beginning. Enjoy!

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1 Comment

  • Reply Lena February 16, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    this sounds like THE winter dream

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