Radicchio lasagne

Radicchio lasagne is a Venetian specialty which is also much loved outside its region of origin. It’s a delicious, rich dish, always made in Italy with the Treviso radicchio sometimes known as ‘tardivo’. For those not familiar with radicchio, just bear in mind that the round, red varieties, namely those from Chioggia, are quite unsuitable for this dish. In the Veneto this dish is known as a ‘pasticcio’, although in the centre and south – and abroad – it would probably be called ‘lasagne’. We wanted to make it even more sumptuous with the addition of an extra layer of cheese. If you’re not vegetarian and love rather more intense flavours you could add bacon to the radicchio, thereby making it even more savoury and flavourful.

Ingredients

  • radicchio 500 grams Treviso variety
  • parmesan 150 grams Grated
  • béchamel 1000 millilitres
  • cheese 200 grams Soft cheese
  • garlic 1 clove
  • pepper
  • salt
  • lasagne 500 grams
Information
120 minutes Total time
30 minutes Active time
Serves 4 persons
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Preparation

First wash the radicchio and cut it into strips. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, fry the garlic in its skin and discard. Add the radicchio and some salt and pepper, then cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes. When the radicchio is ready, drain it well, squeezing as much of the moisture out as you can, and leave in warm place. At this point cook the lasagne sheets unless you have pre-cooked or fresh ones. Prepare the béchamel by dissolving the flour in milk, adding the salt, butter and nutmeg. Start putting the lasagne together. Take a baking dish, smear the bottom with a little béchamel and arrange a first layer of pasta, then add a layer of radicchio that you mixed with a generous grating of parmesan and a few tablespoons of béchamel; add more béchamel and sprinkle with grated cheese. Make a second layer with small pieces of cheese and a little béchamel sauce. Continue in this way until you have three layers. Now put the pan in the oven and bake at 200°C for 30 minutes.

Tips
If the bitter aftertaste of radicchio bothers you, leave it for a few hours before cooking in cold water.
Trivia
‘Precoce’ radicchio is earlier in the season and is usually sweeter, while ‘tardivo’ is later and more bitter. All varieties of radicchio grow well in northern Italy because the climate there is a little more severe: on the contrary, in the south where the climate is mild, this delicious vegetable family do not grow to their greatest potential.

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