Rita’s Radicchio Risotto Recipe

February 17, 2014 / Food & Wine
Rome, Italy

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Rita’s Radicchio Risotto Recipe

I fondly remember enjoying risotto al radicchio as a kid on the occasional family trip anywhere in the northeast or the Veneto specifically. As an adult I’ve tried to make it myself occasionally.

Result? It would taste.. ok. Nice. Just not quite like what I remembered. Probably a case of memories being trumped up over time, right?

So when Rita (of carbonara recipe fame) said she would be showing us how to make it, I figured that would be… nice (there’s that word again).

Then I saw how she makes it.

“Uhh.. dude. You’ve been making it wrong all this time.”

And sure enough, the risotto al radicchio she made tasted exactly like the stuff I ate up north as a child.

So here’s the delicious Radicchio Risotto Recipe courtesy of Rita Perrotta. It has a bunch of embedded “Extra Content”… such as a video chat with Rita, as well as footage of her during “the making of.”

Interview Video with Rita about radicchio and risotto – (with subtitles! Click the “CC” symbol in the lower right hand corner of the video player once you have hit play.)

The Ingredients

  • Vegetable or meat broth
  • Carrot
  • Shallot (or onion)
  • Pancetta (aka, bacon)
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine
  • Carnaroli (or nano vialone) rice
  • Radicchio
  • Fontina
  • Pecorino Romano (aka Romano in the US)

1. Get your broth going (or re-heated up).
Bring a few quarts (almost 1 per person?) of water in a pot with half an onion, celery, and a carrot to a boil. Remember to salt to taste.


2. Prepare the soffritto
Chop a shallot (or a small onion), a carrot, and cut up an ounce of pancetta per person.
Add all that, some olive oil and 1/2 a glass of red wine per person to a pan, and put it on a medium flame.


Get that nice moderate sizzling sound going. The idea with using the wine is to keep the bacon from burning, which would make the risotto taste burnt. Cook off all the wine, or else the risotto could taste like it too.

Video of the Soffritto and wine

3. Begin the risotto
Chop one radicchio (for every 2 or 3 people, depending on its size), sideways, 1/2 inch strips, and add half of it to the pan once the wine has cooked off. Also add one fistful of rice per person. (You gotta love Rita’s measuring system!)


Next, add a 3 or 4 ladles of hot broth at a time, letting it cook off a bit before adding another few ladles. The idea of adding the broth and then reducing it, over and over again, is to keep the rice from having too much liquid at any one time. This way, once the rice is done, you can turn off the fire and you won’t have to choose between rice soup or overcooked risotto!

Throughout all this do not stir however!! You do not want the rice to lose all its starch by going at it with a spoon. You can however jiggle the pan as needed. Take a look at Rita’s master-jiggling technique in this video…

Beginning the risotto video

4. Finishing the risotto
When the rice is almost done (i.e. al dente), add the rest of the radicchio, the fontina (2 oz / person), and half of the pecorino. (Also 2 oz / person total, so add only 1 oz / person here). Now go ahead and stir briefly (it’s ok now that the risotto is done), and then let it sit for a few minutes.


Finishing the risotto video

Garnish your plates, add the risotto, dust it with the rest of the pecorino, and serve…


Buon appetito!


Rita Perrotta

by Rita Perrotta

Rita is a trained chef who founded a Casa di Rita, a cooking school on the outskirts of Rome that specializes in Italian home cooking. A Casa di Rita is located on the Etruscan grounds of Le Sette Fonti, a unique property with incredible gardens (lakes, springs, natural amphitheater cut into the tuff, woods, sculptures, etc.) that is perfect for seminars, retreats, and events.

6 Responses to “Rita’s Radicchio Risotto Recipe”

  1. How nice to get an unexpected something in thanks, even happier to support ItalianNotebook!

  2. This isn’t about the article (although I certainly will be trying the recipe!) but when I saw Ms Perottas name I wondered why it seemed familiar and then realized that the book I had just closed is written by Tom Perotta. Talk about a small world! And I’ll take this opp to say how much I’ve been enjoying ITN since a friend forwarded it to me recently.

  3. Joan Sherman

    I loved this recipe and it was so beautifully presented which is so important to me when I cook for my family and my friends. Thank you.


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