How to prepare a Pinzimonio that no one can say no to? A cream of Radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco and grilled Parmigiano Reggiano rinds for a recipe that is also anti-waste.
Radimonio? A cream made with Radicchio Variegato to make Pinzimonio irresistible
The journey to discover the products protected by the Consorzio Tutela del Radicchio di Treviso PGI and Radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco PGI, true ‘winter flowers‘ because of their splendid shape. To represent my region of origin, Emilia Romagna, and my family tradition, that of Parmigiano Reggiano production, I thought of a custom of peasant cuisine that I have always loved because it is an expression of respect for food and the commitment behind its preparation: the use of grilled Parmigiano Reggiano rinds.
All the work behind Radicchio made me inevitably associate it with the product my family has always been dedicated to. Radicchio is marked by long waits in the countryside and Parmesan cheese has to wait years for nature to take its course to give us unique and unrepeatable flavours. That is why I believe it is a crime to waste even a small part of the product, and farming culture teaches us never to do so.
A modern interpretation thus inspired me to come up with a way to enjoy a truly unusual snack or aperitif because it sees Radicchio variegato, normally eaten raw, cooked for a few minutes in a pan and a ‘scrap’ of cheese turned into a very tasty crunchy stick to scoop up a cream that also carries the aromatic note of another great product of the Veneto region, Recioto wine. Furthermore, the blade-shaped leaves of late Radicchio are ideal to complete the tasting experience.
Trying is believing.
What Radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco PGI looks like
Its beautiful rose shape and the play of colours of its leaves makes us associate it with a very special flower because it blooms when others are asleep, i.e. in winter. Its origin is a hybrid between radicchio and escarole from which Variegato takes a combination of characteristics.
The product bears the name of the town where the country culture of its cultivation is rooted in the history of a plain characterised by long, harsh winters during which families found shelter from the cold by gathering in the stables. It was in the stables, protected by straw, that chicories were stored to protect them from frost and, as often happens, an extraordinary method was discovered to make the plants even tastier: the forcing technique.
What is the forcing technique?
This is the technique whereby the plants are left in the dark (in ancient times under straw, today under special cloths) so that they lose their chlorophyll, the whitening process we also saw in Radicchio Tardivo. In addition to taking on their unmistakable colour, the bitter taste of the chicories fades and the leaves acquire an extraordinary crunchiness.
To enjoy Radicchio Tardivo in a slightly unusual way, try the Strozzapreti with Radicchio and pumpkin fondue.
Radimonio, my Pinzimonio with a Radicchio Variegato dip
2.2g carbohydrates per 100g
Ingredients for 4 servings
- 300g Radicchio variegato di Castelfranco PGI
- 150g Crescenza cheese (I used goat’s milk cheese)
- 100g shallot
- 50g Recioto wine
- 1 clove garlic
- rinds of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- leaves of Radicchio di Treviso tardivo
- extra virgin olive oil
- Cut the shallot into thin slices and sweat it slowly in a pan with a little extra virgin olive oil for about 10 minutes.
- Wash the radicchio, cut it into strips and add it to the shallots. Cook it for a few minutes over high heat while continuing to stir it with a wooden spoon. Douse Radicchio with the Recioto wine and end cooking without allowing the Radicchio to dry out too much: overall cook for about 6-7 minutes.
- Transfer the Radicchio into a blender or food processor, blend it to a cream, add the Crescenza cheese and blend again to make the mixture smooth and even. Season with salt and pepper.
- Take the Parmsan rinds remaining after eating up the cheese, scrape them with a knife to clean the outside. I like to leave them slightly thick, about 5mm, so that the inside is also slightly softer.
- Place a grill on the stove and heat it up to a high temperature; lay the Parmesan rinds on it and grill them on both sides until they acquire a dark golden-brown colour.
- Place the cream in a bowl and serve it with the warm rinds and the Radicchio tardivo leaves, both of which can be used as ‘spoons’ to scoop up the Radicchio cream.
Version with gluten of Radimonio
The recipe contains only naturally gluten-free ingredients, so no adaptation is necessary for its version with gluten.