Antipasto

Stuffed Radicchio Antipasto

Have you ever noticed how siblings from the same parents can look vastly different? Different hair color, eye color, body size, and so on? It’s interesting how some plant families do the same thing. Take the Chicory family for instance. The members of this family range from green leafy endive, to light green escarole, to red and white radicchio. Just like many family members, some are sweeter and some are more bitter than others, and it is best just to go easy and take them just as they are.


In Italy, radicchio from the towns of Castelfranco, Chioggia and Treviso (close to Venice) are the favorites for many dishes since these are less bitter and so beautiful and delicate.

Three varieties of Radicchio from Veneto region of Italy

castel_1.jpg

 

 

Castelfranco: green leaves marbled with red. Usually eaten raw in salads because it can be quite bitter when cooked.


 

 

Photo Feb 19, 12 23 16 PM  Chioggia: baseball-sized heads of red and white. Best in salads mixed with greens and lettuces. This is the variety that usually shows up in the grocery stores.


Photo Feb 14, 5 00 02 PM

 

 

Treviso: much less bitter that other varieties, so it can be used in a risotto or pasta sauce. However, in the following recipe, the tender leaves are left raw to act as a crunchy bowl for the stuffings.


I had fun experimenting with this lovely group of vegetables in all of the interesting varieties. Through January and into February, our Farmer’s Market featured many members of the Chicory family.  I will not to be daunted by an unfamiliar looking vegetable, especially one so colorful. Below you will find my recipe for Stuffed Treviso Radicchio. These tender leaves are so crisp and light, that you can fill them with just about anything. Let your imagination be your guide. Here are a few suggestions:

Stuffed Radicchio Leaves

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A fresh antipasto with Southern Italian flavors.

Ingredients

  • leaves from 4-5 Traviso radicchio heads, separated, washed, and gently dried with a clean, cloth towel
  • For Ricotta and Fig Jam Filling
  • 1/2 cup homemade or store-bought ricotta cheese
  • 4 Tablespoons Fig jam
  • 5-6 fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
  • For Olive Tapenade Stuffing
  • 1 cup green olives
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil or oregano
  • For Raisin and Caper Filling
  • 1/2 cup homemade or store-bought ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 3 Tablespoons capers

Directions

    Ricotta and Fig Jam Filling:
  1. Spread a teaspoon of ricotta to fill the inside of the radicchio leaf
  2. Add a dab of fig jam in the center.
  3. Garnish with fresh mint leaves
  4. Olive Tapenade Filling
  5. Mix together all ingredients in either a food processor or with a mortar and pestle until fine. Generously spoon mixture into the radicchio leaves.
  6. Raisin and Caper Filling
  7. Spread a thin layer of ricotta cheese inside the radicchio leaf.
  8. Sprinkle with raisins and capers.
  9. Garnish with fresh mint.

You can proudly take this to a dinner party or potluck; it is sure to please.

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