Serving warm, soft cannellini beans contrasted with crisp red radicchio leaves is a favorite combination of Treviso, a charming city in the Veneto in northern Italy. Prepare this dish with either the round red radicchio heart or long slender Radicchio Rosso di Treviso Tardivo or Precoce.
This union makes a wonderful base transforming a simple side dish into a salad or main dish, just double quantities for four main servings. Change proportions as you like. Toss with canned tuna, diced seared fresh tuna, chopped hard-boiled egg, crumbled sauteed sausage, pieces of sauteed chicken, diced pressed tofu, poached shrimp, poached salmon, boiled pasta, boiled chickpeas, sauteed cabbage, herbed croutons, or whatever appeals to you. It is deliciously satisfying and easily will become a staple for your dining enjoyment.
4 servings. Cooking time is 5 minutes.
3 cups (710 ml) cooked cannellini beans or 2 15-ounce (425 g) cans cooked cannellini beans, drained
OR 8 ounces (225 g) dried cannellini beans = 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) volume
1 cup (8 ounces or 235 ml) vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup (8 ounces or 235 ml) water, canned liquid, or cooking water
1 red radicchio heart or compact head
2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Drops of red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Cannellini Beans: Use either canned cooked cannellini beans that are rinsed well under cold running water and drained, or dried cannellini beans that are soaked in water for a few hours then cooked for 2 to 3 hours or until tender. For this dish, the beans taste best when warm, so heat them in some broth mixed with water, their canned liquid, or cooking water, simmering for 5 minutes or until hot to the touch. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the beans in the broth to remain warm.
2. Radicchio: Under cold running water, rinse the radicchio and drain well. Cut horizontally into 1/2-inch (1.25-cm) strips and put into a mixing bowl. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with red wine vinegar, then season to taste. Leave the radicchio out at room temperature. (It should not be too cold when tossing with the warm beans or it will cool down the beans. This dish shines when served warm to room temperature.)
When the radicchio is tossed with the vinaigrette and ready to serve, drain the cannellini beans and toss both together and serve while the beans are warm. Once the cannellini-radicchio base is ready, add any prepared ingredient you want. You the cook, just brilliantly satisfied meat-eating, fish-eating, and vegetarian diners. Just toss and serve – this simple dish is amazingly good.