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Meatless Monday: Risotto con Radicchio e Vino Rosso

radicchio risotto recipe

David Rocco's risotto gets its color and flavor from red wine and purple-colored radicchio.

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

There aren’t many vegetables I don’t like, but among the few I’m averse to is radicchio. Unwelcome leaves floating in a salad get flicked to the side and when I get the inevitable head of radicchio in my CSA share, I head to the swap box to see if I can trade it up. But it turns out that I just don’t like raw radicchio. I ordered a pasta dish at a restaurant recently that I did not realize included radicchio (if I’d known, I would have avoided the dish). The radicchio was sauteed with garlic, lemon and hot pepper flakes and with tossed broccoli rabe and homemade pasta. I loved it cooked this way. So I’ve amended the radicchio clause on the food rules I keep in my head to “I don’t eat raw radicchio.”

But now that I know I like cooked radicchio, I’m all over it. Radicchio, sometimes called Italian chicory, is known for its bitter flavor, but when you cook the purple leaves, the flavor totally mellows. You can grill radicchio or saute it and serve it with pasta. David Rocco uses radicchio in his creamy risotto recipe with similarly-hued red wine for a rare dish where the color matches the flavor; both are equally lovely.

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