Stuffed radicchio leaves is a delicious Italian antipasto, easy and very quick to make.
Fresh and appetizing, you can serve it as finger food during an aperitivo or as an entrée for lunch and dinner.
Radicchio is a type of lettuce with red leaves, excellent both raw and cooked.
The peculiarity of this vegetable is that it has a slightly bitter taste, especially when cooked.
In this easy recipe, radicchio is served raw, with its separate leaves used as a bowl. Fill these leaves with a delicious cream made with mascarpone cheese, capers and anchovies (see other filling variations in the paragraph below).
Choose fairly large radicchio leaves. A size that allows you to put in the right amount of filling.
In Italy, stuffed radicchio leaves are called “barchette” (little boats) because of their concave shape, which, once stuffed, resembles small boats.
Everyone loves these “barchette di radicchio” because they combine the bitterness of radicchio with the sweetness of mascarpone and the savory notes of capers and anchovies! A real delight!
So let’s see how to make this tasty and easy Italian antipasto: radicchio leaves stuffed with mascarpone, capers and anchovies.
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How to Make Stuffed Radicchio Leaves
- Prep Time: 15 Min
- Cook Time: 0 Min
- Servings: 6
Step 1) – To make stuffed radicchio leaves, first prepare the radicchio.
Pick out the nicest leaves, preferably all the same size. Wash and dry them. Then set them aside to dry well in a kitchen towel.
Step 2) – Prepare the cream. In an electric mixer, put the anchovy fillets and the capers. Chop them coarsely. It’s not necessary to reduce them to a cream.
Step 3) – In a bowl, put the mascarpone cheese at room temperature. Mix well so that it becomes creamy.
Add the chopped anchovies and capers to the mascarpone and mix well.
Take the radicchio leaves and stuff them with the cheese cream.
Arrange the leaves on a plate and decorate with a whole caper.
Here is your delicious antipasto: Barchette di Redicchio!
It’s best to eat the stuffed radicchio leaves as soon as they’re ready, so as not to lose the crispness of the radicchio and the freshness of the mascarpone.
If you have leftovers, keep them in the refrigerator for up to a day, covered with cling film.
What is Radicchio?
Radicchio is a prized winter vegetable with crispy white ribs. It has an unmistakable and pleasantly bitter, pungent taste.
It’s very popular in Italian cuisine and is used both raw and cooked in many recipes.
Wild radicchio was known to the Greeks and Romans and was mostly eaten raw. They often used it for medicinal purposes, including the treatment of insomnia.
Radicchio root was also used to make a coffee substitute in the 17th century.
There are bitter and sweet varieties of radicchio.
Radicchio varieties can be divided into two main groups: those with deep red leaves and those with variegated leaves.
In Italy, the most prized red radicchios are those from Treviso, Verona and Chioggia.
Red radicchio is rich in potassium, magnesium and vitamins. Due to its high water content, radicchio has a diuretic effect.
Like all vegetables of this color, it’s rich in antioxidants. It contains anthocyanins and tryptophan. The former helping to prevent cardiovascular risk factors, while tryptophan helps to fight insomnia.
Stuffed Radicchio Leaves Recipes: Some Variants and Tips
As you can easily guess, this is a recipe that lends itself to countless variations, depending on your taste and imagination.
We have suggested an idea with Mediterranean flavors that balance each other well. The bitterness of radicchio, the sweetness of mascarpone and the saltiness of capers and anchovies.
But of course there are many changes you can make.
First of all, if you don’t like the taste of capers, you can replace them with olives.
Also, if you want to make a completely vegetarian dish, you can leave out the anchovies. In this case, however, we recommend that you add some spices. For example, some oregano or chili pepper.
Another popular filling for radicchio leaves is tuna in oil. You can add some tuna to the anchovy and caper mixture or blend it finely and mix it evenly with mascarpone cheese.
For a more colorful effect, you can add a pinch of turmeric or saffron to the mascarpone.
Have you ever thought about making mascarpone at home? It is not as hard as you might think. You can add value and satisfaction to a simple recipe like this one!