Radicchio, what do you do with it?

Well eat it of course! Radicchio seems to divide people, there is no middle ground, you love it or you hate it. Well I’m in the former camp. And as most of the Radicchio managed to survive all that winter could throw at it (on an exposed, windy and wet site) it goes up in my estimation and is a definite for my winter grow list.

And it is the winter when they are at their best – the colour deepens, the frost seems to give them that crunch and seems to lessen the bitterness. I’ve only ever really grown them as a winter salad as the summer sown ones get fury and don’t taste a patch on the winter grown varieties.


I”ve grown both a Treviso – the taller, slender closed variety and open-headed varieties. And yes both had bitterness, but not the kind that makes you want to spit it out and swear at it, the kind that has a kick to eat when eaten raw in salads or as I did the other day cooked in a risotto.

The recipe idea came from Sophie Grigson’s Vegetable Bible (a must, in my humble, for any veggie grower) where she gives several recipes and ideas for cooking/eating Radicchio. I went for the Radicchio and Prawn Risotto. And it is so simple,I cooked my risotto up as per my normal way –

Radicchio and Prawn Risotto

  • a handful of Shallots sliced and lightly fried in olive oil with a chopped garlic clove until it is cooked but not browned.
  • Then I add the rice, I do this bit by eye, but approx. 75 to 100g per person, fry for a minute or 2, then a splosh of white wine is added and cooked off,
  • and then I start to add the veggie stock. Now I’m no chef, I also don’t have all day to make gorgeous veggie stock, so I use a weak mix of Boullion and water. So I turn the heat up and add the stock as and when the risotto mix starts getting dry, and stirring, stirring. This bit takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • When the rice is cooked, and no more water can be added this is when you add your cooked prawns and roughly sliced Radicchio and mix it in with the rice and turn off the heat. It’s ready

The combination of the soft risotto rice, the sweetness of the prawns and the tang of the radicchio proved a great combination

The baby leaves at the centre prooved to be so pretty they went in a salad