Light Vegetarian Risotto with Grilled Radicchio

An easy risotto recipe (with video!), perfect for winter. Carnaroli rice, slowly cooked in vegetable broth, with diced Asiago cheese, grilled radicchio, white wine, butter, Parmigiano and parsley.
radicchio is a delicious salad used in Italy for cold and hot recipes like risotto
have you ever wondered what to do with radicchio? make risotto!

Hello my friends and Happy New Year! Are you on food and drink detox after the holidays? I am not as I don’t tend to binge. However, I try to keep myself under control in January. Because of the cold weather, it’s a bit too easy to indulge in dinners rich in calories and I know I will deeply regret it in spring. [JUMP TO RECIPE]

the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi is at only 10 min drive from Agriturismo Alla Madonna del Piatto
cold and sunny days make for wonderful walks and a great comforting dinner afterwards

In our home we eat risotto at least once a week, because it’s so easy to make and you can pair it with almost anything you have in the fridge. As you probably know you can make a heavenly risotto by using a rich meat broth and finishing with a ton of butter and Parmigiano. The challenge comes when you want to make it light.

For great flavor without the additional centimeters around the waistline you need:

  1. best quality risotto rice: I use a variety named Carnaroli which is considered the king of rice, but Arborio or Vialone nano is good too. Basically, you need a rice that stays creamy without overcooking and tastes nutty and slightly floral. Low quality rice tastes bland. Keep testing different brands until you find the one you like.
  2. real stock: there is no powders or bullion that compares to a fresh stock. Just make it like in the video below, it’s a matter of minutes. If you can’t abstain from meat stock, add a few chicken wings to the vegetables and simmer until tender.
  3. real cheese: please use Parmigiano or Grana no imitations, use mild cheese from a wheel not rubbery “mozzarella” from a block. A mild cheddar will do if you don’t have Italian cheese.
  4. seasonal vegetables: in this recipe I use grilled radicchio, but asparagus, artichokes or thinly sliced zucchini work just as well.
  5. best olive oil: extra virgin with a nice herbal aroma and thick texture.
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • vegetables for stock: 1 onion, one carrot, one tomato, a celery stick
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone Nano, or other risotto rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 radicchio head
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 120 g (3 ounces) Asiago or other mild cheese, diced
  • Salt, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil
Prepare stock:

Bring to boil 3-4 cups water then add the vegetables for stock, 1 teaspoon salt, cover and simmer for 20 min.

Grill radicchio:

Prepare a bowl with the finely minced garlic and olive oil. Clean and cut the radicchio in wedges, grill until lightly charred on all sides then toss with the garlic and olive oil mixture and chop with scissors as shown in the video below. Cover to infuse.

Make risotto:

Meanwhile heat the butter in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat until melted. Add the onion sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add the  rice and stir well. Sauté for another 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Increase heat and add white wine to deglaze. Stirring constantly, let the wine evaporate then decrease heat to minimum.

Now start adding stock, about 1/2 cup at the time. Stir to incorporate and distribute the rice in an even layer. This way you don’t need to stir the risotto all the time. Once the stock is absorbed, add some more and repeat as before until the rice is al dente, i.e. cooked through but with a bite. This will take about 20 minutes.

Switch off the heat, cover and let the risotto rest for 5 min.


After the rice is rested, turn on the heat again, add radicchio, parsley, Asiago and stir quickly to combine and make it more creamy. Add more stock if necessary. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Sprinkle with Parmigiano and serve at once.

Video recipe

ligh vegetarian risottowith grilled radicchio


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