Chicory & Radicchio Recipes

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Dandelion Salad -- Zigorriesalat


Just as in the Mediterranean, the first greens of spring were eagerly anticipated by northern European peoples.  One of the favorites was dandelion.  While this plant is not native to North America, its seeds were an early stowaway in hay bales carried across the Atlantic in ship holds, and rapidly became established throughout the New World.  By the time the Inspirationalists arrived at Amana, it was already well established in the local flora, and soon became a dominant part of the pasturelands they created for their livestock.  In this way, they were able to enjoy this first taste of spring just as they had in Swabia.  Serves 4-6.

4 cups washed and chopped dandelion greens
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup water
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Soak prepared dandelion greens in cold water for 30 minutes.  Drain.  Melt butter in a small pan over medium heat and whisk in flour.  Cook for a minute, and then add in the water.  Bring to a boil and add in vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Remove from heat and mix in the sour cream and chives.  Pour hot dressing over drained greens and toss.

While you can use wild dandelion greens you need to be sure to pick them only from places that have been spared spraying with herbicides and before the flower stalks begin to emerge, as otherwise the leaves will be impossibly bitter to eat.


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Marinated Radicchio


This dish, adapted from Faith Willinger’s wonderful 1996 cookbook “Red, White & Greens” is an excellent way to include radicchio in an antipasti plate.  We recommend eating it as a topping on slices of toasted Italian bread or on a high quality cracker.  To make it authentic, be sure to use the elongated Treviso-types of radicchio.  However, as it also bitterer than the more often-found round-headed Verona-types, it is essential that you give this dish an overnight (or longer) rest to tame it and bring out the other wonderful flavors.   

4 radicchio heads (preferably Treviso), quartered
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons yellow raisins, soaked in ¼ cup hot water
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Toss prepared radicchio with 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Cook in a skillet over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until tender and lightly browned.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Remove from skillet.


Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet over medium heat.  Add in onion slices and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add in both vinegars, drained raisins and pine nuts and cook over high heat until ¾ of the liquid has evaporated.  Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Layer the cooked radicchio and onion mixtures in a bowl.  Cover and let rest, refrigerated, at least 4 hours or preferably a full day.  Serve at room temperature.


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Radicchio and Arugula Salad


This simple salad is adapted from one presented by Elaine Bell in the 1993 award-winning “The Burger Meisters” cookbook (ISBN 978-0671865382).  It is not only beautiful to look at but invigorates the palate through its combination of slightly bitter Verona radicchio, spicy arugula, and a sprightly vinaigrette.  As good as this salad is using arugula, it would be even better made with nasturtium leaves.  We’d recommend using a green and white variegated type.

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons flat leaf Italian parsley, minced
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 head (8 oz) radicchio (preferably Verona), cored, washed, dried and torn into 2” pieces
8 oz arugula, washed and dried
2 tablespoon toasted, chopped pecans (or pine nuts)

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. 

Toss together prepared radicchio and arugula with dressing.  Top with chopped pecans.  Serve immediately. 



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Radicchio and Mushroom Risotto


This is a classic and elegant Venetian risotto in which the bitterness of the Treviso radicchio plays off the richness and slight sweetness of the red onion and Barolo wine, the creaminess of the melted parmesan and the earthiness of the crimini mushrooms.  It is quite literally a show-stopper and will make for the centerpiece of a memorable summer dinner.  The below recipe represents a joining of ideas presented for this dish by Paula Wolfert in her 1998 “Mediterranean Grains & Greens” andFaith Willinger in her 1996 “Red, White & Greens”.  Make sure that you garnish it with a little shaved parmesan and a liberal grinding of black pepper. 

½ pound radicchio (preferably Treviso), washed and shredded
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, cut into small dice
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup full-flavored red wine, such as Barolo
1 tablespoon dry thyme leaves
7 cups stock, heated to just under boiling
12 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus a little extra as a garnish
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Toss radicchio with salt and let stand for 5 minutes.  Heat a large, wide-bottomed, heavy pan over medium heat.  Rinse the radicchio.  Add to pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook, covered, until very tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove to a bowl. 

Melt butter with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in the heavy pan over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until it has turned translucent and a bit brown, about 10 minutes.  Add in the rice, and fry, stirring constantly until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. 

Raise heat to medium-high and add in the red wine and thyme.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has been absorbed into the rice.  Add in the mushrooms and 1 cup of hot stock, stirring constantly until the liquid has almost all be absorbed.  Keep adding in stock in 1 cup units, stirring the rice constantly until the liquid has been almost all absorbed. 

Before adding in the last cup of stock, add in the cooked radicchio.  Add in the last cup of stock and stir constantly until all the moisture has been absorbed and the rice grains have achieved an al dente texture. 

Remove from burner, mix in the parmesan cheese, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Cover and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.



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Radicchio Pasticcio


The Italian pasticcio is closely related to the Greek pastitsio (παστίτσιο), being a baked pasta holding some type of savory filling and held together with a béchamel sauce and cheese.  Unlike Greek versions, however, pasticcio is typically filled with sautéed vegetables and uses lasagna noodles.  One of the most famous pasticcios is the following from Veneto in northern Italy which is filled with Treviso radicchio sautéed with garlic in olive oil.  The following recipe represents a blending of two excellent versions of this dish: one by Faith Willinger in her 1996 cookbook “Red, White & Greens” and Paula Wolfert in her 1998 “Mediterranean Grains & Greens”.  Note that you can fill a pasticcio with any number of other vegetables, and you should consider adapting it for kale, spinach, eggplant, red bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, or whatever else you fancy. 

½ pound dry lasagna pasta
6 radicchio heads (preferably Treviso), cut into strips
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups milk
6-8 whole cloves
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups stock
1½  cups grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400° F.  Lightly oil a 9x12” baking dish.

Bring to boil a large pot of salted water.  Precook the dry lasagna until just tender, about half the recommended cooking time.   Remove from water, drain, and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.

Toss prepared radicchio with 3 tablespoons olive oil, and sauté in large skillet over medium heat until wilted and lightly browned.  Add in garlic and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.  Remove from skillet into a bowl. 

Put whole cloves into the milk.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove the cloves.

Heat remaining olive oil and butter in the skillet over medium heat until the butter has melted.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Whisk in the hot milk and stock, and bring to a boil.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  When sauce has thickened, remove from heat.

To assemble the pasticcio, first spread 1/3 of the cooked radicchio across the bottom of the baking pan.    Cover this with a layer of lasagna, then 1/3 of the sauce and 1/3 of the parmesan.  Repeat with two more layers, ending with the sauce and parmesan. 

Bake for 20-30 minutes until the cheese has melted and turned brown.  Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.