Radicchio e Fagioli

Radicchio with Beans

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

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.

Ingredients

  • 150 g/5 oz pork belly
  • 500 g/ lb fresh borlotti beans, podded
  • 300 g/11 oz radicchio leaves, coarsely chopped
  • a drizzle of olive oil, to taste
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 slices of grilled/broiled yellow polenta, to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Put the pork belly into a large pan with the beans and sufficient water to cover everything generously. Bring the water to the boil and cook gently over a low heat, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, or until the beans are soft. (There should be very little liquid left in the pan and it should not be necessary to drain it. If it seems watery, boil it for a little longer to reduce the liquid.) Add a pinch of salt.
  2. Remove the pork belly from the pan, chop it coarsely and set it aside.
  3. Mix the radicchio into the beans, crushing the beans with a fork. Return the chopped pork belly to the pan, and stir well. Add olive oil and season to taste.
  4. Serve hot or cold, on a slice of yellow polenta, if you like.