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Radicchio is a cool weather green from the chicorie family and is related to Belgian Endive, Frisee and Escarole. Chicories are like lettuces but are heartier with a bitter taste.
I used a Traviso Radicchio in the recipe below which is a looser leafed version of the more commonly found Chioggia Radicchio. Either can be sliced and added to salads for extra flavor but really stand out when cooked, added to dishes like this risotto, or even brushed with olive oil and set on a grill.
Radicchio, Prosciutto and Brown Rice Risotto
- 1 head radicchio, chopped
- 2 cups short grain brown rice or Arborio rice
- 3 oz diced prosciutto
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth, boiling
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 leeks chopped
- 3 tbs olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- balsamic vinegar (optional)
Saute radicchio and leeks in oil until wilted. Add rice and stir continuously for two minutes. Add one half cup white wine and while stirring let it cook off completely. This will feel much different than your average risotto because of the amount of greens but don’t worry, it turns out in the end. After cooking off the wine add the boiling broth a cup at a time, don’t worry about cooking off completely. Stir occasionally and cook on low for 30 minutes or until rice is tender.
Remove from heat and stir in prosciutto cubes and parmesan cheese. Let sit for a couple of minutes until cheese melts. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar for some tang.
This makes a surprisingly rich risotto, mainly because the leek and radicchio combination creates a carmelized reaction. The white wine really comes through and it’s a healthy dish with the rich dark greens.