Radicchio tardivo is a subspecies of chicory, and owes its striking colour to Francesco van den Borr, Belgian agronomist and inventor of the imbianchiamento technique, which uses scalding spring water to transform the colour of the leaves. A little bitter when eaten raw, cooking changes the flavour to a deep, rich sweetness.
This specimen was discovered in a Treviso market, and found a home in nearby Piombino Dese, where the formidable talents of Mara Quarneti magicked it into three memorable feasts risotto con tardivo, lasagne con tardivo and, of course, polenta con tardivo.
And no, we didn’t get sick of it, at all.
More on Treviso and its famous radicchio at radicchio.com .