I was first aquatinted with all manner of varieties of radicchio upon moving to Italy.
The season for it starts in autumn and it is native to the region of Veneto. The most precious one is radicchio Tardivo of a long and lean shape and most delicate flavour.
For this salad however, I like to use radicchio di Chioggia, of a round shape, crispy and with slightly bitter leaves. Not to mention it’s vibrant and deep burgundy purple colour.
The proportions below can be taken as an indication and can be readjusted to your liking
as well as the use of any radicchio variety you can find.
When possible I always buy fresh borlotti beans*, shell them and simmer with a sprig of rosemary until they are tender. Take out the rosemary and discard. Otherwise use dry beans, soak them overnight and gently cook the same way as above.
If you decide to chose already cooked borlotti beans from a jar in this case fry the cubed pancetta with a sprig of rosemary (which you will discard after having tossed the beans with pancetta).
Wash and roughly tear the radicchio leaves.
Heat up one table spoon of olive oil in a pan. Add the cubed smoked pancetta and fry on a medium heat until the fat has melted and the pancetta has turned crisp and golden in colour.
Now add the drained beans into the pan, add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir well. I like to keep the pancetta and bean mix in the pan for a few minutes until the beans warm up a little.
Arrange the radicchio leaves on a serving plate.
Scatted over the beans and pancetta and pour over the remaining fat from the pan. Season with some salt.
Drizzle with olive oil and a good balsamic vinegar.