Saturday, 7 January 2012

Beautiful Bitterness!

Radicchio di Treviso al Forno con Rricotta Salata e Rosmarino
Oven-Roasted Radicchio di Treviso with Salted Ricotta and Rosemary 

Some experiments are perilous- fraught with danger, hardship and discomfort... whereas this little experiment too all of 10 minutes and was a pretty safe bet from the start! I knew of course from experience, that many bitter leaf vegetables lose a little of their bitterness when they are cooked, but I was curious to find out how the Treviso would taste oven roasted...

I remembered having heard of this combination before and it sounded pretty tempting, so I turned the oven up high to get it nice and warm and set about preparing the radicchio to be roasted.

First off, I separated the leaves and drizzled them very lightly with olive oil, which I then spread over them evenly using my hands in order to get the whole surface of each leaf coated. I grated them very, very lightly with nutmeg and then sprinkled them with grated salted ricotta cheese. You can also use Parmesan or Grana, but I had ricotta at home and that's what I used. I ground a little pepper on them and sprinkled them with a little bit of finely chopped rosemary. I didn't add any salt, due to the ricotta being salted- but this would have been the time to have done it otherwise!

I put them on the top shelf of the oven at a high temperature for 7-8 minutes, after which time, the leaves become a deep golden brown- the red coloring of the leaves transforming into a deep burnt umber, which tells you exactly how these are going to taste! Well, almost...

The leaves curl up and crisp around the edges, but in the middle where they are still juicy mildly bitter, they retain their heat and therefore would make for a perfect side dish. The flavor is a complex mix of bitter, savory and juicy- and what's not to like about that? Next time around I will combine them in a tasty risotto for example, or a nice pasta dish... but for this evening- they were a nice little snack and it was a clear case of "mission accomplished!". I wonder what I will try out next?


  1. I love the way they curl ever so slightly and their golden color. I've never tried this taste sensation but it sounds delicious! Brings together north and south!

  2. Glad you like it Frank! It is the variety that is curled- even when it is raw the leaves are a lovely shape. Hope you give it a try and enjoy it- you may like to put a little more cheese or ricotta on yours- I wanted mine to get golden and crispy though! Best regards- Francesco