Risotto with red radicchio, a bitter and tasty symphony from north of Italy

Risotto with Red Radicchio is a typical first course that comes from the north of Italy. It is characterized by the bitter taste of the radicchio and by the abundant quantity of red wine used to cook it.

Risotto with red radicchio is a first course from the regions of northern Italy and especially from Veneto. This typical preparation of red radicchio risotto is very popular in Treviso area, a place for the cultivation of radicchio.

What is radicchio rosso?

Radicchio Rosso is a variety of chicory with intense red colour, with white streaks. It has a bitter taste which in the preparation of risotto can be attenuated in the creaming by adding grated Parmesan cheese. There are two types of red radicchio, the early variety and the late variety, which is the most valuable.


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Chioggia, Treviso Precoce and Treviso Tardivo

The Chioggia variety is the most popular and widely used radicchio variety. It is a round head of plant that has the most uninterrupted surface of the deep red colouring. The IGP area for Chioggia includes just ten towns from the boroughs of Venice (where you find Chioggia itself), Padua, and Rovigo. Radicchio rosso di Treviso precoce is a longer head than Chioggia and the white veins are more pronounced. It has a distinctive bitter taste and the heads are blanched as per the endive procedure to achieve the colouring and flavouring (heads are tied and left without light for two to three weeks post-harvest). The IGP area includes 24 towns in the boroughs of Treviso, Venice and Padua.

Other varieties include ‘Tardivo‘: Treviso tardivo is considered the king of radicchio in Italy, a real gourmet speciality. It involves weeks of painstaking manual labour using a very traditional forced growing and blanching method to produce the white ribs with red tops. After harvest, the heads are left in tanks of running resurgence water for two weeks. They are then cut, washed and packaged. There are strict regulations on the length and appearance of the root that is left on the head.

Radicchio tardivo is usually used for preparing the risotto since its leaves remain crunchy and bitter when cooked.


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Recipe of risotto with red radicchio


  • 320 gr Carnaroli’s rice
  • 400 gr of Treviso’s radicchio tardivo
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 litre of broth
  • 100 gr red wine
  • 30 gr extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper


Remove the white part of the radicchio head. Wash, dry and cut the leaves into thin slices. In a large pan pour the oil and finely chopped shallot. Fry over low heat, stirring occasionally. Pour a ladle of vegetable broth and stir. Then pour in the rice, mix again. Toast it until you see the rice becoming semi-transparent. You will then have to blend with the red wine and once it has evaporated, you can start adding hot broth as needed, one or two ladles at a time: the rice must always be covered by broth. Bring to cooking (it will take about 18 minutes depending on the rice you use). At the end sauté and add pepper to taste. Finally, add the radicchio off the heat. Stir and you are ready to serve your risotto with radicchio



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