Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Minestra di Radicchio

The markets have started offering radicchio again. On the left you see the round radicchio di Chioggia and on the right is radicchio di Treviso (Chioggia and Treviso, being cities in Italy's Veneto region) I think radicchio is such a beautiful vegetable to see at the market. It's as ruby-red and glorious raw as it is grey and muted cooked. Maybe that's why there are so many recipes for radicchio in salad. The taste, however, is wonderful when it's cooked and I like to make radicchio soup on cool fall afternoons. I believe it's really nutritious too. You can make the soup more beautiful with a sprinkling of parsley and Parmesan. Here's the recipe:

1 carrot, peeled & roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
2 ozs pancetta (optional), roughly chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
6 cups chicken (or light meat) stock
1 large potato, peeled and cut into a ½-inch dice
½ cup of diced ham (1/2-inch dice)
1 medium head of radicchio, thinly sliced
1 wedge of Parmesan cheese and a grater to pass around
salt to taste

Place the carrot, onion, garlic, celery and optional pancetta in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until everything is reduced to tiny pieces. Do not puree! In a stock pot, pour in the oil and sautee the vegetable mixture over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Music to sautee all those vegetables by: "Nutrition" by The Dead Milkmen. Pour in the chicken stock, bring to a boil and add the diced potatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes or until tender then add the ham and radicchio. Simmer another 2-3 minutes until the radicchio has just wilted. Take off heat, taste for salt, sprinkle on the parsley and let guests sprinkle Parmesan on top.


Anonymous rowena said...

I better get a move on and head to the market for radicchio (love that veg). I think with this obsession for filled pasta, all I've been playing with is flour and potatoes. :-P

Just read your comment and had to stop by to say "thanks" for reminding me of the expression "heebee geebees". I'm so breaking a grin right now as I'm always looking for stuff to pass on to my husband.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Foodie's Hope said...

First , LOVE the fruit market!!Look at all those grapes with wine next to them! You are lucky!!

Now the soup sounds delicious and nutritious! My kids would love to have that!!Thanks Susan!!

8:02 PM  
Blogger Lea said...

you know... I dont think I've ever had radicchio.... whats it taste like?

3:26 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Rowena, Are you making gnocchi?
Ravioli filled with radicchio and ricotta would be really nice.

Hi Hope, You've got really well-trained kids! I wouldn't have toughed this stuff when I was little.

Hi Lea, Radicchio has a bitter bite. For me it was an aquired taste. When I tasted it for the first time in a salad at a friend's house, I thoght they'd forgotten to wash the pesticide off! Ha ha! It's milder cooked and a great counterpoint to rich flavors like pancetta or cheese.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, Susan!

I don't believe I've ever tasted radicchio, but as I'm fairly happy to try something new, and since you recommend cooked radicchio, I might be tempted to make this soup. Thanks for the recipe!

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice soup. Can i replace the ham?what would u suggest?

3:11 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Lotus, I hope you make the recipe. Your new photo is just beautiful, by the way.

Hi Shaheen, thanks for stopping by! If you want a vegetarian soup, you could omit the ham and pancetta and put in more cheese. Radicchio pairs really well with parmesan.

11:49 AM  
Blogger a.c.t said...

Hmmm, I'm going to make this. It'll involve some hunting to find it but I'm going to go out of my way ths winter to get some of the more obscure Italian ingredients (but not obscure in Italy of course). The best thing about winter is fresh soups. Which reminds me, I must make my favourite squash soup soon.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this soup...made it vegetarian by using vegetarian broth and veggie ham.

1:58 AM  
Blogger David said...

Looks good! Confirms that using extra radicchio I have on hand in soup is a good idea too, thanks.

1:02 PM  

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