Creamy Radicchio Risotto with Mascarpone (or Not)
Cuisine: Italian
  • 2 heads radicchio 'tardivo di Treviso'
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 150g risotto rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli or Vialone Nano (my favorite kind)
  • Hot vegetable stock
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Mascarpone cheese, or gorgonzola (skip or use cashew cream for a vegan version)
  • Some Grana to finish (skip if vegan)
  1. Cut one of the radicchio heads in 4 lengthwise, then finely chop the other head (get rid of the stem) and set aside. Add the radicchio cut lengthwise to a plate and cover with clingfilm. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes, until soft. Cut off most of the stem and toss them generously with olive oil.
  2. Heat a pan until quite hot and add the radicchio. Let it brown on all sides, until nicely cooked and until the tops are crispy. Set aside.
  3. Add the olive oil to a pot with sides about 4-5 inches (10 - 13 cm) tall. Add the shallot and turn on the heat to medium-low, and start sautéing. Add the finely chopped radicchio the pot after a minute. Add a little stock to help the vegetables cook.
  4. After a couple minutes, add the rice, and stir for a minute on high to toast it.Then, add about a cup of stock, and let the rice cook on medium-low until absorbed. Keep an eye on it, as you will need to add another cup of stock once the first cup is absorbed. Keep an eye on it constantly and shake the pot often, to avoid sticking.
  5. RIsotto usually cooks in between 15 and 18 minutes - check the box for cooking times. the rice should feel soft under your teeth but with still some bite. If the rice seems cooked but there seems to be too much liquid, turn the heat to high and let it evaporate, shaking the pan. Once ready, remove from the heat, add the cheeses if using and shake the pan several times, as if you were sautéing it in a pan.
  6. Serve immediately with the pan-fried radicchio and a tiny quenelle of mascarpone or creamy gorgonzola.
  7. NOTE: this is the simplest process, but this way the radicchio won't preserve its color. If you want to keep it bright and purple, you will need to blanch it in salted water, pot uncovered, and purée it, then add it when cooking is almost done. I like adding the radicchio at the beginning of cooking though - it's easier and very flavorful.
Recipe by Hortus Natural Cooking by Valentina Solfrini at