Tag Archives: Gorgonzola Dolce

Pan fried radicchio with pickled pears, walnuts, beetroot and gorgonzola

You must admit the combination above sounds pretty good – the contrasts of flavours, differences in textures, the bitter taste with the sweet.

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You probably have eaten grilled radicchio. I was mentioning to friends that my mother was cooking grilled radicchio back in the 80’s and was presenting it with a tomato salsa and polenta. And now in 2016, I have been seeing it and eating it once again, both in Australia and in Italy.

The photo below was taken in a restaurant in Rome in June. I ate it as a contorno (a vegetable side dish).


Instead of grilling the radicchio I pan fried it – easier and less smelly.

I wanted a variety of ingredients so I poached some Rosella pears in red wine, pepper corns, a dash or red vinegar and a tablespoon of sugar.

Next beetroot. I really enjoy the sweetness of beetroot with radicchio in a salad at any time, so why not ad it to a lightly sautéed radicchio.

I love Gorgonzola dolce. Cheese pairs well with walnuts and so I added these components as well.


It did not take long to prepare. I poached the pears early in the day so as to leave them steeping in the poaching liquid and the rest was prepared in about 30 minutes.  I cooked the beetroot the day before and kept it in the fridge. My type of cooking these days….. especially if this was the entrée and I had three more courses to prepare.

For 4 people

Quantities for gorgonzola and walnuts to taste.

Cubed gorgonzola dolce – creamier, less sharp than straight Gorgonzola.
Walnuts, and make sure that they are not rancid.
Cooked beetroot…at least one per person.

2 pears – not soft – I ended up only using 1 – a quarter on each plate
2 cups dry red wine
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 heaped tablespoon of sugar
5 cloves
about 10 black pepper corns
1 pinch of salt

Combine the wine, vinegar and spices in a small saucepan which will hold the pears and almost- if not entirely- cover them. Cook pears cut into quarters in the liquid, lid on and poach on low heat. I still wanted some crunch and cooked them for about 30 min.
Leave pears in poaching liquid to cool and until you wish to use them.

1 large round head of radicchio, quartered, so that each quarter has a bit of the stem end holding it together. I also used satay skewer to ensure that it stayed together. If using the Treviso vaviety of radicchio ( long shape) you may need 2 heads and cut it in half.

¼ cup olive oil
salt and black pepper

Lightly sauté the radicchio in the oil over moderate heat uncovered. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn once. I did not want the radicchio cooked- I wanted a warm salad with radicchio that was softened on the outer.
Remove the radicchio. Distribute onto separate plates.
Drain/ strain the pears and use that wine/liquid to add to the pan. Discard the spices. Add the beetroot (to warm and to glaze). Turn up the heat and reduce the liquid to about half the quantity.

To serve distribute pears and beetroot . Dribble liquid on the radicchio. Scatter gorgonzola and walnuts on top.

Done. Compliments all round.



Radicchio Recipes:

BIGOLI NOBILI (Bigoli pasta with red radicchio, borlotti and pork sausages)

RADICCHIO (Treviso) with polenta and tomato salsa

Radicchio, celery beetroot salad – as ingredients below with a simple vinaigrette – Extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, red wine vinegar. 1 part vinegar to 3 parts olive oil.

Fresh herbs if you wish.



One of my readers sent me a recipe for a tomato salad and gorgonzola and as you can see from the photos I made the salad twice. On both occasions I presented the salad as an antipasto.

The reader who sent me the recipe has just returned from a holiday to Italy; although she visited Sicily, she indicates that she ate this in northern Italy. And even if all of the other ingredients could easily be for a tomato salad from Sicily, gorgonzola is very much a northern Italian cheese. In fact it is a DOC cheese (Denominazione di Origine Controllata – Protected Designation of Origin) and produced in the provinces of cities you may recognize: Milan, Como, Pavia, Bergamo, Cremona and Novara and all of these cities are in the Piedmont and Lombardy regions. Only items produced in a specific area, in a particular way and of a certain specified size and shape may display that DOC label.

In my version of the salad I used gorgonzola dolce (means sweet) and it is one of my favourite cheeses – soft, creamy and slightly veined and spicy. Gorgonzola piccante (spicy) is the stronger tasting version of this cheese; it is more matured, has a greater degree of blue-veins and is firmer. I imagine that although both cheeses are suitable for this recipe, the mature gorgonzola would be easier to handle and could be ‘shaved’ as the recipe suggests.

I also did not use as much balsamic vinegar, the Sicilian in me screams “no vinegar with tomato”– it is sufficiently acidic. Also, it has to be good quality balsamic and if it is, only a little should suffice.

When I prepared it in my friends’ home, I did not use anchovies because they hate them (unfortunately).

I have named the salad after the ingredients INSALATA DI POMODORI E GORGONZOLA (and alla Giovanna, because this is the reader’s name). Thank you.

Here is her recipe:

3 large tomatoes, sliced
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup shaved Gorgonzola cheese
1 Tablespoon capers, drained
1 Tablespoon green onions, sliced
1 clove minced garlic
2 anchovies minced to a paste
black pepper, freshly ground
fresh basil


Arrange tomatoes on a plate
Drizzle with vinegar and oil
Sprinkle lightly with salt and fresh ground pepper
Sprinkle with cheese, capers, onions, garlic, and anchovies
Garnish with basil leaves
In the first photo:
I used very large tomatoes from Geelong close to Melbourne (new crop).
In the second photo:
The tomatoes are small and from Murray Bridge in South Australia.
Heirloom tomatoes are not ready, not just yet.