Radicchio risotto with red wine and crushed pine nuts

Last week I was fortunate to be invited to Riverford Organic farms to see their bitter crops - artichoke, radicchio, dandelion leaves, cardoon and cime di rape. These are amazing ingredients if you know how to treat them......they need a little preparation and to be paired perfectly. You can't just throw them into any old dish, which is why it is better to look to classic Italian dishes when using them.

In this dish red wine reduces to a sweet, rich flavour, perfectly counterbalancing the slightly bitter radicchio. Red wine may seem like an odd addition to a British eye that has only ever experienced the pale gold of a white wine risotto. The milky mauve colour might be unnerving but rest assured this is an Italian classic and a very tasty one at that.

This meal, for 4 people, cost £5.33, showing that good food does not have to come at a great price. I swapped the typical white risotto rice for buckwheat and millet as they have a much higher nutritional content. A bonus of using these grains is that you cannot overcook them as you can risotto rice. So it will chill and freeze well which is great news if there are any leftovers!

I am currently working on menu plans that are good for the environment, great for animals and gentle on your budget. My Riverford veg box plays a central role to this. I get a UK only box every 2 weeks which is enough for 2 people. You can find out more about Riverford here


1T stock powder plus 1 litre of water

1T sunflower oil

2 small, or 1 large, onion, finely chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1T nutritional yeast

100g / 1/2 cup millet grain

100g / 1/2 cup buckwheat

125ml / 1/2 cup red wine

1 can borlotti beans, drained and rinsed well

1 large radicchio roughly chopped

1/2t salt

15g pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan and roughly smashed in a pestle and mortar

Add the stock powder and hot water to a pan, keep on a low to medium heat with a ladle in the pan

Using a large frying pan heat the oil on a low to medium heat, add the onion, fry for 10-15 minutes until the onion is starting to soften. Add the garlic, fry for another 5 minutes. If the pan gets dry during this time add a splash of water rather than more oil.

Add the nutritional yeast, millet, buckwheat and red wine. Once the red wine is almost completely reduced add a spoonful of the stock. Once that is almost gone add another and so on. The grains should take around 20-30 minutes to soften completely. Now add the beans, radicchio and salt. Mix in and leave to warm through for 5 minutes. Serve with a scattering of the pine nuts.

Danaliese Radley