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 Listen to the interview with  Jennifer McLagan on "Bitter: a Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavor, with recipes


Radicchio and Pumpkin Risotto

A recipe from Jennifer McLagan’s book: Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor, with recipes







2-1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 shallot, finely chopped

6 oz. pumpkin (winter squash), cut into 1/2-inch dice, about 1-1/4 cups

Sea salt

5-1/4 oz. radicchio leaves, rinsed and trimmed

1/2 cup risotto rice (Vialone nano, Arborio, or Carnaroli)

2 Tbs. white wine or dry vermouth

Freshly ground black pepper

Parmesan cheese


Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so the stock barely simmers.

In another saucepan, melt half the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until translucent. Add the diced pumpkin and stir to coat the pieces with the butter. Season with salt, and cook until the pumpkin starts to soften slightly at the edges, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the radicchio leaves in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. You should have about 4 cups.

Add the rice to the pan, stirring to warm the grains and coat them in butter. Stir in the radicchio and continue stirring until it wilts and changes color. Pour in the wine and cook, stirring until it evaporates; season with black pepper. Now add a ladleful of hot stock and keep stirring the simmering rice constantly until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Continue adding the stock, one ladleful at a time, when the previous liquid is almost completely absorbed.

After 20 to 25 minutes, the pumpkin should be cooked and the rice should be creamy and cooked but still slightly al dente. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let sit for 2 minutes. Check the seasoning, stir in the remaining half of the butter, and serve in warm bowls. Grate Parmesan over the top.