Radicchio Risotto With Grilled Radicchio

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When Brian and I took the boys to Italy, we wanted to eat lunch at a place near the Vatican that a lot of these Italian travelers recommended. It was a lunch we never forgot. We still talk about it and laugh. The place is Dino and Tony's and it is run by two brothers - Dino out front and Tony in the kitchen, neither of whom speak English. When we arrived for lunch, we were not offered menus at all. Dino told us he was going to bring out special antipasti for us and then asked if we like pasta. Well, sure, we said. Before we knew what was happening, he disappeared into the kitchen and then brought out two pizzas, a platter of prosciutto and salami, a platter of grilled vegetables, a platter of potato croquettes, fried olives stuffed with meat and a bottle of Chianti. This was just the antipasti! Then he delivered large bowls of radicchio risotto. "Where is the pasta?" I asked him. "After the risotto," he said. I knew we were in trouble. The risotto was so good, I couldn't believe it. Then the pasta came - Rigatoni Amatraciana. Delicious and perfectly cooked. Dino came to our table again and announced "Dolci!" and presented us with an assortment of desserts and dessert wine. We were all groaning.

That evening, we could hardly eat dinner. I had a small bowl of minestrone soup and called it quits.

This radicchio risotto is like the risotto Dino served us but I have added grilled radicchio, which is brushed with olive oil and herbs. When figuring portion sizes for risotto, allow 1/4 cup dry rice for each person.

Radicchio Risotto

for a printer friendly recipe, click here
serves 4

2 heads radicchio
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons each chopped fresh thyme and parsley
1 tablespoon kosher salt

6 cups light beef broth or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
kosher salt
1 cup arborio or carnaroli rice
1/3 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, herbs and salt. Slice one radicchio head in half and then into quarters. Brush the quartered radicchio with olive oil mixture and set aside. Take the second radicchio head and slice off enough into small strips to make about 3/4 cup. Save the remaining radicchio for another use (you can add this raw to salads).

Bring the stock to a simmer on the stove and keep warm.

In another pot, add the olive oil and onion and saute slowly with a good pinch of salt until onion is soft. Stir in the radicchio and then stir in the rice and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes. Pour in the wine and cook for a few minutes until it has evaporated. Add two ladlefuls of the hot stock and cook, stirring, until is has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, a couple of ladlefuls at a time, until the rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Regularly stir the risotto. When the rice is tender, remove from heat and add the cheese to the risotto.

Meanwhile, light a grill and over medium high heat, grill the radicchio for a few minutes each side and serve along with the risotto.

For another risotto recipe, you might like Asparagus Risotto

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  1. Gorgeous and delicious sounding. I wonder sometimes if grilled radicchio is as good on a gas grill as over coals? I feel like our grill doesn't give much (any) smoky flavor.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful Italian meal. I remember a lunch I had in Naples where lasagna was the pasta course, and then there was a main course after that. Our group of American tourists couldn't possibly do justice to the meal.

    The idea of grilled radicchio sounds very interesting. I haven't tried grilling romaine yet either, need to try it!

  3. I like getting two recipes at once.I'm only imagining how full and happy you must have been at that meal.

  4. wow you know the way to my heart... I am obsessed with this recipe! Next time you go to Italy tell me... and I am coming with you, I'll bring my mom too!

  5. That's a meal you'll never forget, sounds wonderful!
    I'll be trying your grilled radicchio very soon. Oh, I wanted to tell you I recommended your pizelle ice cream sandwich to a good friend of mine and she made them for the 4th. She called me today to tell me they were a huge hit at her party!

  6. Anonymous7/08/2009

    I love the picture of the asparagus...clever.

  7. I so love risotto and enjoy reading about the numerous ways to prepare it. I've never thought about adding radicchio, but what a superb addition! Lovely photos that I want to just dive in and eat! Mangia amica! Stop by sometime and say hi on my less-professional blog. :-) roz (bella)

  8. Anonymous7/08/2009

    I don't go to that side of Rome very often but will be making a trip to Dino and Tony's asap.
    I adore Radicchio risotto, I like the slight sweet bitterness alongside the creamy rice.
    I always beat in a bit of very cold butter alongwith the parmesan (I think this is called the Mantecatura) at the end which is not really nessesary but makes things even creamier and very very nice indeed.

  9. I love risotto and this sounds like an amazing combination. I will def be trying it!

  10. The Italian Dish7/09/2009

    Maggie: Coals are always better, but you will still get a good flavor on a gas grill (I did!)

    Kalyn: We Americans view lasagna as dinner, not as a pasta course! It's always a shock for some people. . .

    Angela: Very full.

    Gaby: I'd go in a minute!

    Proud: Thank you!

    John: Thanks.

    Bella Vita: I will hop on over there!

    Rachel: Butter makes everything better!

  11. What a wonderful story. Can't wait to visit Italy! I hear that the warmth and hospitality are unparalleled (aside from the food of course!).

    Isn't that balsamic the best? I got a bottle from ChefShop.com, and have been hoarding it. lol.

  12. Really enjoyed your story, the photos, and the recipe—thanks!

  13. great post. that risotto sounds amazing.

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  15. Complimenti!
    I saw you featured on the top 10 italian blogs! It's great work you do here, so it's lovely that you're getting recognized for it.
    Radicchio risotto is so delicious, pity radicchio is so underrated here!

  16. Fantastic photos!

  17. I made radicchio risotto once, but my husband didn't like it, so I never made it again. That's gonna change now. Yours looks wonderful!

  18. Your blog is stunning! I love radicchio. Thanks for the recipe!

  19. Risotto is perfection for me wit the right white-based optimized sauce Perfect.