Radicchio di Treviso PGI in gluten free cuisine: how to cook Strozzapreti with Radicchio and pumpkin fondue to colour your table and make the whole family happy.
The ‘Winter Flower’ contest
To publicise the work and attention that farmers in the typical area devote to radicchio, the Consorzio Tutela del Radicchio di Treviso PGI and Radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco PGI which gathers together the producers of these incredible vegetables (also known as‘winter flowers‘ for their shape that evokes that of a flower) decided to launch a contest throughout Italy where 10 bloggers from various regions were asked to marry Radicchio with their own culinary traditions and to propose a recipe to be enjoyed when seated and one to be eaten standing.
Are you ready to see my ideas? Let’s start with the “seated recipe”: Strozzapreti with radicchio and pumpkin fondue.
The term Radicchio does not indicate a single vegetable. Depending on personal gastronomic habits and one’s area of origin, certainly the word Radicchio brings to mind different types of vegetables.
In Italy, the place in the front row is certainly taken by Radicchio from Treviso, a radicchio that holds many surprises, not only in terms of taste and versatility in cooking, but also for the way in which it is producedrarely known to consumers.
Radicchio Rosso di Treviso PGI: early and late
The acronym PGI stands for Protected Geographical Indication, but what does this designation imply? It implies that the Radicchio referred to is grown in a very specific geographical area where the soil, climate and production method make it unique and inimitable.
The characteristics of Radicchio di Treviso are therefore different from any other product, to the point that if a seedling were grown in another part of the planet, the end result would be profoundly different: this is one of nature’s many miracles.
Early Radicchio, called “precoce”
As the name implies, this is the Radicchio whose harvest begins in September (which is why you will not see it used in these recipes as it is not available) after the plants are tied with a rubber band so that light cannot penetrate them for 15-20 days. Consequently, when the large tufts are harvested, the outer leaves are removed directly in the field, while the precious dark red central part is washed and destined for our tables.
Late radicchio, called “tardivo”
Radicchio Tardivo for sale on the shelves of a greengrocer
This is the Radicchio we most often associate with the name Treviso and is also the type I used in my recipe for Strozzapreti.
Unlike what one might imagine for a vegetable, its colour and flavour are highly dependent on the process. It is called Tardivo because it is after four months in the field, in November, that a turning point occurs: the first cold weather ‘burns’ the outer leaves, giving them their typical ‘blade’ shape. At this point, Radicchio heads are extracted from the soil with their roots, transported to the growers’ farms and placed in tanks filled with 10-12 degree water from local springs.
The process is called “forced whitening‘: water and the absence of light cause new leaves without chlorophyll to develop inside, with a typical white and purplish-red colour.
Careful trimming and a final wash prepare Radicchio for its final destination on a long and fascinating journey: the most varied and extraordinary dishes.
I hope you are now looking forward to using Radicchio in the kitchen and preparing this fresh homemade pasta, for which I recommend involving even the youngest members of the family: it will be much more fun to forge these tasty little cylinders than to play with any toy modelling dough! Watch the video to find out how to cook this recipe. And if you want another idea for using Radicchio, try my Ricotta dumplings with radicchio.
Strozzapreti with Radicchio and pumpkin fondue
22.8g carbohydrates per 100g
Ingredients for Strozzapreti for 4 servings
- 100g Radicchio di Treviso PGI Tardivo
- 100g water (taken from the water used to blanch Radicchio)
- 100g gluten free breadcrumbs, brand Nutrifree**
- 100g gluten free pasta flour mix, brand Molino Dallagiovanna**
- 1 egg
Ingredients for the pumpkin fondue
- 200g pumpkin already peeled and seeded
- 120g milk
- 120g fresh cream
- 50g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
- Radicchio di Treviso PGI Tardivo
- salt and pepper
**Ingredients specific for celiacs
*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on Prontuario AIC)
Preparing the dough for Strozzapreti and fondue
- Put a pot of water on the stove and bring it to the boil; throw in the washed Radicchio tardivo and blanch it for about 1 minute in the boiling water. Remove the Radicchio with the help of a skimmer and throw it into cold water immediately, but keep the scalding water. Drain the Radicchio and leave it in a colander so that it loses as much water as possible.
- Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl and, to wet them, use 100g of the boiling water used for the Radicchio: pour it in gradually while stirring the breadcrumbs with a wooden spoon. Let everything cool down.
- Slightly wring the blanched Radicchio with your hands to remove excess water and chop it finely on a cutting board using a knife or a half-moon. Add the chopped Radicchio to the breadcrumbs, then complete by adding flour, egg and salt.
- Knead all the ingredients to obtain an even mixture that will be rather moist. Wrap it in cling film and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the fondue. Place milk and cream in a thick-bottomed saucepan, bring to a gentle boil and allow the liquid to reduce to half. Remove from the heat and add the grated Parmesan cheese, stirring until it melts perfectly.
- Cut the pumpkin into cubes and cook it in the microwave for 4 minutes at maximum power in a closed container, or in a static oven at 200g for the time needed to make the pumpkin soft (the time will depend on the size of the cubes). Mash the pumpkin with a fork to obtain a purée, then add it to the fondue, mix well and season with salt and pepper.
Shaping Strozzapreti and completing
- Take small pieces of dough and, with the help of a dusting of brown rice flour, roll them out with a rolling pin to a thickness of about 2mm; cut small strips about 4cm long and 1.5cm wide, place them between the palms of your hands and slide your hands in the opposite direction so that the strip becomes a sort of twist.
- Lay the Strozzapreti on a tray lightly dusted with brown rice flour and continue until all the dough is used up.
- Heat up the Radicchio blanching water; pour the pumpkin fondue into a large non-stick pan and heat it up slightly. When the water in the pot comes to the boil, throw in the Strozzapreti, cook them for a few minutes until they rise to the surface and with a slotted spoon remove them and throw them into the pan with the fondue.
- Allow the Strozzapreti with the fondue to take on flavour for a few minutes, then serve hot, topped with a few pieces of fresh Radicchio.
Strozzapreti with Radicchio ready to be enjoyed
Version with gluten of Strozzapreti with radicchio and pumpkin fondue
Replace the gluten-free flour with standard flour and adjust the amount of water used to scald the breadcrumbs so that all the breadcrumbs are moistened, but not creamy.