This bitter, red-leafed vegetable is enormously popular all over the Veneto. Of the three most common varieties, radicchio di Chioggia is in the form of a tight ball; radicchio di Verona is floppy and lettuce-like; and radicchio Trevisano, perhaps the best-loved sort, has long, narrow leaves. Any of these can be used in this simple peasant recipe - a classic example of a dish where the protein is provided by a modest amount of meat, supplemented by beans. This makes the complete dish both cheaper and more healthy, while still being full of rich flavours. The radicchio needs barely any cooking and is simply allowed to wilt in the heat of the stew. It can be served on top of grilled or fried polenta, or alongside a meat dish, such as a roast or casserole.
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