Il radicchio rosso di Treviso tardivo: what it is and how to cook it

Radicchio is much beloved in Italy where the bitter tasting and antioxidant-rich leafy veggie comes in all sorts of fun shapes and sizes, and even colors.

But only one Italian radicchio gets touted as the king, i.e. it costs a lot more. I am referring to the curious looking radicchio rosso di Treviso tardivo. Tardivo as in late. Treviso as in the city where they produce it. Rosso as in red, and Radicchio as in yep, it’s a radicchio. So yes, it is a late harvest red radicchio from a designated area in and around Treviso in the Veneto region of northern Italy.

The tardivo costs more because of the labor intense and carefully regulated process that is used to produce the white ribs with the little red tips. This radicchio is not merely picked and shipped. Rather it sits in moving water far from the sun’s rays for at least 15 days which forces the plant to grow an entirely new set of white chlorophyll-less (and tasty) leaves on the inside.

It can be served in risotto or pasta, and would fare well in polenta, but I cooked it as an easy side last night to sample its lightly bitter and kingly flavor. That’s it in the picture above before it reached the oven.

Oven roasted late harvest red radicchio from Treviso

Serves 2

  • 2 radicchio, cut in half or quarters.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with wax paper.
  2. Lightly oil the radicchio and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast in oven for about 20 minutes until tender and crispy. Turnover about halfway through.

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