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Risotto with red radicchio and bacon

Risotto al radicchio rosso recipe was to me. Of course I ate radicchio as salad before in Italy but never in a risotto...until now.

When a couple of weeks ago mom called and said: "My god, your dad made a wonderful radicchio risotto the other day, you just HAVE to try and make it!!! You'll love it, it's absolutely FANTASTIC! Look if you can find radicchio over there, in that silly land... of course they sell it, why shouldn't they? Dad suggests to buy a small round radicchio, and of course onions and buillon cubes too..." and blablablabla.

It's hard to say NO to mom, especially to an Italian mom when talking about FOOD. So I went and looked for the holy radicchio, and I luckily found it at the local supermarket (and yes, I bought also onions and buillon cubes :P). However, the first experiment was a disappointment, as the risotto came out too bitter and I really didn't like it. I dediced not to give up and to find a way to show the good flavor of the radicchio and trying to avoid its bitterness at the same time.

And it was a success! \o/

I have to say that it was one of the best risottos I've ever made :)

I followed dad's recipe, BUT I added bacon (as my bf says "Bacon always makes food taste better!") and meat buillon cube instead of veggie one. I also added a small amount of creamy cheese at the end but I realised that the risotto would have been good even without it! And, if for some weird reason you don't like bacon, minced meat works as well.

I suggest you to use only the smaller and soft inner leaves of the radicchio and remove the white part in the middle so they won't be too bitter.

Ingredients (2 persons):
  • 200 g risotto rice
  • some radicchio leaves
  • 170 g smoked bacon
  • 1 onion
  • 1 meat buillon cube
  • 1 tbs creamy cheese (optional)
  • rapeseed oil or olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • parmesan cheese

Boil the water and drop in it the bouillon cube.
Wash and cut the radicchio leaves in small stripes. In a pan heat some oil over medium heat. Add finely chopped onion and saute until it gets a nice golden color.
Add the radicchio leaves, 1 ladleful of broth and stir. Let it cook few minutes. Cut the bacon in small pieces and drop them in the pan. Add some pepper and mix.
Add the rice and turn up the heat. Let it lightly fry, while keeping stirring it for few minutes (it will look slightly translucent).
Add enough broth that it covers all the rice and stir. When the rice has absorbed almost all the broth, add a ladle of broth. Keep adding ladlefuls of broth, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is cooked and has creamy texture. This takes about 20 minutes.
Check the taste, add salt and pepper up to taste.
When the risotto is cooked, if you want, add the creamy cheese and stir. Remove from heat and let it rest covered with a lid for a couple of minutes before serving.
Serve with parmesan cheese.


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