Red radicchio for your valentine
Radicchio, often called Italian chicory, comes from the hometown of famous star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. With its vibrant garnet color and sophisticated use in finger foods and hors d’oeuvres, radicchio is often associated with romance. There are two varieties available in the U.S. – radicchio di Verona, which looks like a small head of red lettuce and radicchio di Treviso that resembles a red version of Belgium Endive. Both have the alluring color, striped with white veins and are delicious raw or cooked. Radicchio leaves are small and make attractive appetizers – wrap a leaf around herbed soft cheese or place a dollop of chicken salad in the small, rounded cup.”We eat with the eye first,” said Jeremy Kittelson, executive chef at Restaurant Avondale. “Radicchio’s ruby color adds visual appeal to any green salad, while the slightly bitter flavor stands up to tangy vinaigrettes. Its refreshing crunch complements more delicate greens.”For the gardener, radicchio is a satisfying crop, performing best in your spring and fall garden. The shallow root system prefers frequent watering and will reward your tender loving care with delicate heads in just three months. This Valentine’s Day, romance your sweetheart with one of the easy recipes here. Build a playlist of love songs, pour some Prosecco and imagine a vacation in Italy.
1/2 pound linguine1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil1-1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined1/4 cup chopped onion4 garlic cloves, minced1 cup white wine6 diced plum tomatoes1 head radicchio, cored and chopped1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped1 cup feta cheeseBring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and cook until just tender. Drain, toss with a small amount of the olive oil and keep warm. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saut pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Stir in the onion and saut, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Deglaze the pan with the wine, and stir in the tomatoes, radicchio, oregano and feta cheese; simmer together until the shrimp are just cooked, about 30 seconds. Toss pasta with shrimp mixture and serve. Serves 4.
2 six-inch Italian rolls1 chicken breast, grilled and sliced1 small head radicchio, halved, cut side grilled2 roma tomatoes, sliced2 sliced mozzarella cheese1/4 cup pesto sauce1/4 cup mayonnaiseMix pesto and mayonnaise and spread on insides of rolls. Layer chicken slices, radicchio leaves, tomatoes and cheese inside the rolls. Brush the outsides of the rolls with olive oil, and grill, turning for a few minutes till cheese melts. Makes 2 sandwiches.
1 onion, peeled and chopped 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 Tablespoons olive oil 1/2 pound Arborio rice 1 cup dry white wine 3 cups chicken stock 1/4 pound prosciutto, finely sliced 1 head radicchio, chopped 3 ounces soft gongonzola (or other blue cheese)1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 3 Tablespoons butter Sea salt Freshly ground black pepper Place the chicken stock in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Heat the olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of butter in a large heavy based saucepan, then add the onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the rice. Stir until each grain is coated with oil, and then add the wine. Stir until the rice is starting to absorb the liquid. Add a ladle of hot stock, and then stir until it is absorbed. Continue this process until the rice is al dente – just a little firm to the bite. Add the radicchio and prosciutto and stir well. Add the gongonzola, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a few minutes more, until the rice is cooked through. Just as the rice is cooked, add the remaining butter and half the Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine and divide between 4 bowls. Top with the remaining Parmesan and chopped Italian parsley. Serves 4.Sue Barham is the marketing director for Larkspur Restaurant and Restaurant Avondale. Larkspur (larkspurvail.com), at the base of Vail Mountain, has been serving American classics with a fresh interpretation since 1999. Avondale (avondalerestaurant.com) opened in September 2008 in the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa and features a West Coast-inspired, market-driven menu.
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