Radicchio Risotto with Walnuts

Risotto al radicchio is a delicious vegetarian risotto recipe that features radicchio (Italian chicory), red wine and walnuts. A simple dish, once you’ve got all your ingredients together it will be on your table in just over a half hour. If you picked up a radicchio and have no idea what to do with it, radicchio risotto with walnuts is an excellent idea.

Simple dishes like this radicchio risotto should feature on everybody’s menu often. I speak for myself as well. Unless I’m meal planning for real, trying to get my veggie intake and balancing proteins and carbs, I tend to end up eating the same 4-5 dishes on rotation.

Radicchio risotto with walnuts made with red wine.

Yet risotto is such an easy and excellent way to get a good and balanced meal. You can sneak in any kinds of veggies. You can keep it completely vegetarian or use your favourite meat broth. And especially, it’s ready in less than an hour. Inspired to make more risotto in your life? Let’s talk about risotto al radicchio, then!

Radicchio, Italian chickory

Radicchio is a leaf vegetable that belongs to the chicory family. It has purple leaves with white veins and it can be consumed both raw as salad leaf, or cooked. Raw radicchio has an intensely bitter flavour that gets milder when cooked. It is also known as Italian chickory since it is widely used in Italian cuisine. Radicchio is related to Belgian endive, with which it shares the bitter flavour.

Radicchio varieties are named after the regions in Italy where they stem from – cultivation in these regions dates back several centuries. In Italy, these varieties have IGP status (protected geographical indication). The most famous ones are the small and round radicchio di Chioggia (picture below, left) and the elongated radicchio di Treviso (picture below, right).

Related recipe: Radicchio & Blue Cheese Tart

Risotto al radicchio

While many people appreciate the bitter flavour of raw radicchio and choose its leaves in salads, I am not a fan. The bitterness of radicchio is more intense than that of Belgian endive. But what’s wonderful about this vegetable is that once cooked it will have a milder taste. While it will still retain its spiciness, the bitterness will tone down.

This is why radicchio is a favourite in risotto. This seemingly simple vegetable carries a very distinct flavour that pairs just so so wonderfully with walnuts. To align with the beautiful purple colour of the leaves, I make my radicchio risotto with red wine. The result is a flavourful risotto with a beautiful purple colour.

Walnut radicchio risotto made with red wine.

The ingredients

Here’s what you will need to make radicchio risotto with walnuts. A brief step by step explanation follows, and you can find detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Radicchio – whatever type you can find, keep in mind that 2 small radicchio di Chioggia sub 1 radicchio di Treviso.
  • Risotto rice – I have used Carnaroli in this recipe, but the choice is yours.
  • Red wine – any medium-bodied red wine will work well, but if you plan on drinking the rest of the bottle with your meal I’d recommend opening a Merlot.
  • Shallot – or yellow onion, for flavour.
  • Vegetable stock – I recommend a vegetable stock, but if you don’t need to keep it vegetarian you can use chicken stock, too.
  • Butter – this is a recipe from northern Italy, so no olive oil here. It’s butter, baby!
  • Parmigiano – or Grana Padano, grated, to be folded in at the end.
  • Walnuts – they need to be shelled and coarsely chopped.

Ingredients needed to make radicchio risotto placed on a wooden table.

How to make radicchio risotto with red wine

  • Halve the radicchio lengthways, place it on a cutting board cut facing down, and cut it into 1 cm strips. On another cutting board, mince the shallot. While you’re at it, coarsely chop the walnuts and set aside.
  • Set a heavy duty pan (or a Dutch oven) on medium heat and melt half of the butter. In another pot bring the stock to a boil, then keep it on low heat throughout the process so that you will be adding it hot.
  • Add the shallot to the butter and cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes, until soft. Add the rice and toast it stirring continuously until it becomes slightly translucent, another couple of minutes.
  • Pour the wine into the pan and evaporate stirring constantly. After it has almost all evaporated, add the radicchio and sweat it for a couple of minutes, until soft. It may seem at first that it’s a lot of radicchio compared to the rice, but it will wilt and the rice will double in size as it absorbs the stock.
  • Add the stock in batches, always adding just enough to cover the rice. Simmer on medium heat stirring from time to time to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When a batch of stock has been absorbed, add the next one. Proceed until all of the broth has been added or until the rice is cooked through. It should take up to 20 minutes.
  • After the last addition, just before all of the broth has ben absorbed, remove the pot from the heat when the texture is still somewhat runny and soupy. Add the remaining butter and grated cheese and gently fold it in. The rice will keep absorbing the last of the liquid and the addition of cheese and butter will just give the risotto its signature creamy texture. Top with chopped walnuts and serve immediately.

Make it a meal!

In Italy, risotto is a main course. A typical Italian meal would begin with a starter, proceed on to the first course (the carbs) followed by a second course (the protein). End it with a dessert and espresso coffee. Here’s a suggestion for a fabulous meal where this radicchio risotto would be the star.

Hope you will enjoy this recipe and maybe a few more from those I have linked here. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any kind of feedback, I’m always happy to read your comments. And here’s a pin for your favourite recipe board on Pinterest:

Radicchio risotto with walnuts is a red wine risotto that uses radicchio, or Italian chickory. This leaf vegetable has a peculiar bitter flavour that becomes mild once cooked and makes it an excellent risotto ingredient. Naturally gluten free and vegetarian, risotto al radicchio comes together in just over a half hour.

Red wine risotto with radicchio and walnuts.
5 from 10 votes
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Radicchio risotto with walnuts

An Italian speciality, risotto al radicchio features this peculiar bitter endive popular in Italian cuisine. This red wine risotto is nicely mild and well-rounded thanks to the addition of walnuts.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword radicchio, red wine risotto, walnut risotto
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 601 kcal
Author Eva | Electric Blue Food

Ingredients

  • 350 g risotto rice i.e. Carnaroli
  • 80 g butter
  • 1 radicchio
  • 1 shallot
  • 100 ml red wine
  • 1 L vegetable stock
  • 35 g walnuts chopped
  • 50 g parmigiano grated

Instructions

  1. Cut the radicchio in half lengthways, place it cut side down on the cutting board and cut it into 1-cm slices.

  2. Add the stock to a pan and bring it to a boil. When it boils, lower the heat to low and keep it on the heat.

  3. Peel and mince the shallot. Set a heavy-duty pan or Dutch oven on medium heat and melt half of the butter. Add the minced shallot to the butter and cook 2 minutes.

  4. Add the rice to the pan and toast on medium heat until slightly translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

  5. Pour in the wine and stir thoroughly until evaporated.

  6. Add the chopped radicchio and sweat it mixing from time to time until wilted, 2-3 minutes. It may look like it's a lot of radicchio at first, but it will wilt and the rice will double in size.

  7. Lower the heat to medium-low and add enough stock to cover the rice and radicchio mixture. Let it simmer gently and stir from time to time to check when the stock has been absorbed. Repeat this procedure and keep adding the stock in batches until either the rice has cooked through, or all of the stock has been added. Stir from time to time to make sure your risotto will not stick to the bottom of the pan.

  8. After the last addition of stock, when still slightly runny and soupy, turn the heat off. The heat in the pan will continue the cooking process and the rice will naturally finish absorbing moisture. Add the remaining butter and grated cheese and stir in. Top with chopped walnuts.

Recipe Notes

The nutritional information provided is only an estimate based on a suggested serving size.

Nutrition Facts
Radicchio risotto with walnuts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 601 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 52mg17%
Sodium 1346mg59%
Potassium 175mg5%
Carbohydrates 76g25%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 1132IU23%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 168mg17%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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20 Comments

  1. Marta March 23, 2021 at 02:39

    5 stars
    I love radicchio in salads, but can’t remember the last time I had it cooked. Adding it to risotto sounds amazing! I’ll be looking for some this week!
    Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Eva March 23, 2021 at 10:31

      Thank you Marta! Hope you will enjoy it in risotto!

      Reply
  2. Allyssa March 23, 2021 at 11:08

    5 stars
    This is a very genius idea! I love wallnuts recipes! thanks a lot! looking forward for more awesome recipes!

    Reply
    1. Eva March 27, 2021 at 08:35

      Thank you Allyssa and welcome back!

      Reply
  3. Jenny March 23, 2021 at 16:28

    5 stars
    I love this risotto. We cook rice often and always looking for creative ideas; this one is perfect. Love the color the radicchio gives, the flavor, love the walnuts’ crunch, it ticks all the boxes for me. Thanks so much for this!

    Reply
    1. Eva March 27, 2021 at 08:36

      Thank you Jenny! I’m sure it will not disappoint.

      Reply
  4. Newbie In The Kitchen March 24, 2021 at 11:53

    5 stars
    I really enjoy making risottos and I haven’t tried this combo before. It looks and sounds delicious! I can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
    1. Eva March 27, 2021 at 08:36

      Hi! It definitely is a great combination, hope you will like it.

      Reply
  5. Heidy March 26, 2021 at 11:11

    5 stars
    Your recipe looks impressive, and I am betting this would go over well with my family! A must-make recipe for sure this week. Have a fantastic night, and I will come back to let you know how it turns out.

    P.S. I’m looking forward to checking out your other blog posts to see what I can dig up to make this week as well.

    Happy Thursday!

    Reply
    1. Eva March 27, 2021 at 08:37

      Thank you Heidy, you’re so kind! I hope your family enjoyed this risotto and you found some other recipes to try. Have a fabulous weekend!

      Reply
  6. Kathryn March 26, 2021 at 17:26

    5 stars
    I love recipes that use radicchio! This risotto looks amazing and I will be serving this as a side dish, can’t wait to try this flavorful dish!

    Reply
    1. Eva March 27, 2021 at 08:38

      Thank you Kathryn! Such a pity radicchio is a rather niche ingredient, but it’s always nice to find ways to use it.

      Reply
  7. Chandice Probst March 27, 2021 at 06:10

    5 stars
    What a delicious and unique way to use radicchio! This is so comforting yet filling… Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Eva March 27, 2021 at 08:38

      Thank you Chandice! Have a good day!

      Reply
  8. Beth March 28, 2021 at 02:23

    5 stars
    What a lovely risotto recipe, simple yet elegant with the radicchio, walnuts and parmesan – not to mention the wine. I can well imagine from your description that the radicchio wilts down into the dish, taking up all that flavor.

    Reply
    1. Eva March 30, 2021 at 10:50

      Hi Beth! I can confirm it really does, bringing a special flavour to the whole dish. A true delight!

      Reply
  9. Tammy March 28, 2021 at 18:46

    5 stars
    This is such an impressive twist on risotto and so beautiful too! I love the purple coloring…risotto is so comforting and delicious! I haven’t made it in so long…thank you for the inspo!

    Reply
    1. Eva March 30, 2021 at 10:51

      You’re welcome Tammy! Hope you get a chance to taste it soon!

      Reply
  10. Moop Brown March 29, 2021 at 08:29

    5 stars
    I’m a big fan of risotto and really love your take on it in this recipe. Looks delicious!

    Reply
    1. Eva March 30, 2021 at 10:51

      Thank you very much Moop!

      Reply

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