Dinner Tonight: Radicchio Risotto

Blake Royer
  • 6 Tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Ounces  pancetta, minced
  • 1 Pound  radicchio, coarsely chopped
  •   Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Cup  chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 Cup  Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • 2/3 Cups  white wine
  • 5 Cups  hot chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoons  unsalted butter
  • 1/4 Cup  freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  •   Aged balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Greens like escarole, endive, and the belovedly bitter radicchio are staples in winter, providing a sturdy counterpoint to warm, rich flavors as bold elements in a salad, such as frisee against crispy bacon or radicchio against crusty Jerusalem artichokes. But there is also lots of potential for forgoing their rawness in favor of heat: The bitterness is toned down while the sweetness increases, creating a compelling balance of flavors. This recipe, adapted from the San Francisco Chronicle, cooks down chopped radicchio with pancetta, so it almost braises into a sweet, sticky, porky mess. Stirred into an otherwise basic risotto, it dominates with its bold flavor (still, if you're not a fan of radicchio, this is probably not the recipes for you). During cooking its appealing purple color gets muted, but the flavor is quite unique. I drizzled mine with a little good thick aged balsamic (the thin harsh stuff is better left out) to accent the radicchio's coaxed sweetness.

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