Victor’s Radicchio

This post was written by Victor Hazan and originally published on Facebook.

It’s cold on the ground in the Veneto, and radicchio tardivo, late-harvest radicchio, the noblest Italian vegetable, is back. I used one head today to make Marcella’s radicchio risotto. Marcella followed the tradition of the city that was home to us, Venice, sautéing chopped radicchio over pancetta affumicata, bacon that is. I had just received marvelous guanciale, and I used that instead of bacon, introducing a tasty Roman staple to a dish from the Veneto. I sliced the guanciale very thin on an electric slicer, then cut the slices into small strips. I sautéed the chopped radicchio with onions and guanciale until it was very soft, put in the rice, and observed the classic technique to make the risotto. The almost almond like flavor of radicchio tardivo, with a barely perceptible reminder of radicchio’s conventional bitterness, makes tardivo worth the wait and the cost. I plan to use the other heads I have in the fridge – they keep well when wrapped in minimally moistened paper towels and held loosely in a plastic bag – with sausages, in a pasta sauce, and on its own, grilled. Marcella adored vegetables, and late harvest radicchio perhaps most of all. Victor.

November 22, 2015
Photo by Victor Hazan

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