Raddicchio is one of my favourite vegetables but I often have trouble finding it here in the UK or at least in the part where I now live.
Back in Italy it is a commonly used item in Italian cookery so much so that in other parts of the world it is simply known as “Italian chicory”. When I go back to visit my parents if at all possible I try to make sure to have at least a dish using this wonderful ingredient because of my love for it.
As you already know I tend to try and follow the seasons, enjoying the produce that nature naturally provides eating foods in season. Firstly because I think food naturally tastes better when it is at its’ peak and secondly because doing so allows your diet to be a lot more varied. I mean sure it is possible to have one vegetable all year around but it adds much more colour to your life and to your food if you were to adapt your pantry to match that of the seasons.
Radicchio, which can indeed be eaten raw in salads, once cooked is quite bitter to the taste but it can be mellowed when grilled or roasted for example. Highly versatile you can use it as a stuffing or as a main ingredient to pasta and risotto dishes, I think you could also quite happily use it in pies and quiches instead of the more common cabbage or leek, in order to give a different twist.
In my recipe I decided to jazz up the common lasagna.
Cooking the radicchio in red wine mellows its bitterness to a more mild flavour, which I feel with the smoked tofu added a nice contrast. Layered up and mixed with a traditional besciamelle sauce this dish provides a very healthy nutritious meal, high in proteins (16g per portion), minerals (copper: 0.793mg – 88% and calcium: 480mg), vitamins (especially B12 and K) and antioxidants.
Kcal per portion: 458.
700 ml Bechamelle Sauce*
9 Lasagna Sheets (make sure they’re eggfree)
150 gr Smoked Tofu
1 Large Radicchio (300 gr)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2-3 Garlic Cloves
100 ml Good Red Wine
30 gr Vegan Parmesan Cheese
*Bechamelle sauce: 650 ml Plant Based Milk, 40 gr Flour, 20 gr Vegetable Oil, Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg. Add vegetable oil and flour in a bowl. Whisk until combined. Microwave for 30 seconds at 800W. Add plant based milk a bit at a time, whisking thoroughly until combined. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Microwave for 3 minutes at 800W. Whisk the sauce another time then microwave for another 3 minutes at 800W. That’s your bescamelle sauce done!
Preheat the oven at 180°C/350°F.
Chop onion, garlic and radicchio.
Add to a large pan with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add red wine and simmer for 15-20 minutes (this will allow radicchio’s natural bitterness to mellow down).
Cut tofu block into ½ cm slices and fry each of it both side on a hot pan with a drop of olive oil.
Now that all prep is done it’s time to layer the lasagna!
Spread a generous amount of white sauce on the bottom of a tray. Allign 3 lasagna sheets.
Add half of the radicchio mixture, top with smoked tofu pieces and some grated vegan cheese.
Cover with another generous amount of bechamelle sauce – lasagna sheets – radicchio – tofu – parmesan – bechamelle sauce.
Top with grated parmesan cheese and a few leaves of parsley.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving and….enjoy!