I’ve tried (and failed) to like radicchio on so many previous occasions. Those stunning purple heads that fill the bins in the produce section each winter; they’re just asking to be eaten. But every time I bit into radicchio, I was put off by those intensely bitter leaves. My latest attempt blends that dreaded radicchio with creamy cheeses, caramelized onions and a golden honey drizzle for the perfect winter pizza. The sweet ingredients seem to calm down the radicchio and at long last, I can finally savor those lovely, purple leaves.
Remove those dull outer leaves and rinse radicchio under water. Cut the large white stem (shown here) out with a paring knife.
Any onions will work with this recipe but I like the color of red onions against the radicchio. When caramelizing onions, slice the onion into thin strips.
Chop the radicchio lengthwise into long strips.
Caramelized onions are like culinary gold. All you need is onions, olive oil, salt (and a little patience) and you can elevate any dish to the next level. There are hundreds of tutorials out there and they don’t get more simple than this one.
Halfway there…be patient. Play some Words with Friends or organize your spice cabinet.
After about 30 minutes, my onions were browned and practically melting. I lowered the heat to medium-low and added the radicchio with one tablespoon balsamic vinegar. I continued to toss with tongs for a few minutes until the radicchio was wilted.
You can certainly use your favorite homemade pizza dough recipe, but I’m lazy and pressed for time. The store bought whole wheat crust at Whole Foods worked for me! Using floured hands, pull the edges of the dough into a disk and continue to gently stretch the pizza dough into the desired shape. A rolling pin will also work, but be careful not to overwork the dough.
Brush the flattened dough with olive oil
Smear ricotta cheese around the dough leaving an inch of crust at the edge.
Pour radicchio/caramelized onion mixture over the ricotta cheese. Then top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 450 degrees F for 8-10 minutes, until the crust is a nice golden brown.
Drizzle with honey and proceed to devour. There is nothing bitter about this pizza…
Radicchio Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Honey Drizzle
Makes 2 Medium Pizzas
- 2-3 heads radicchio, sliced (about 4 cups)
- 2 large red onions, sliced (about 4 cups)
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp olive oil, plus additional for brushing
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb prepared whole wheat pizza dough
- flour for dusting
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and set pizza stone (if using) to the lowest rack.
Heat olive oil in a large saute over medium high heat. Add onions and toss to coat with the oil. Allow onions to cook, stirring occasionally for the next 20-30 minutes, until caramelized. The onions should brown, but not burn. If the onions start to dry out, add a few tablespoons of water.
Once onions are caramelized, add a generous pinch of salt and sprinkle with pepper. Turn heat to medium-low and add radicchio. Pour balsamic vinegar over the mixture and toss to coat. Let cook for 3-4 minutes or until radicchio is wilted. Remove pan from heat.
On a floured surface, pull dough apart and flatten into two disks. Using your fingers, gently stretch the dough until it is about 6 inches across. Flip the dough and add more flour beneath to ensure it doesn’t stick. Brush dough with olive oil and spread ricotta cheese along each disk, leaving one inch border. Add radicchio/onion mixture and sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.
Transfer the pizzas to the pizza stone using a peel or a wooden cutting board combined with steady hands (like I did!). Bake until cheese is melted and crust is crisp and golden, about 8-10 minutes.
Serve immediately, and drizzle each slice with honey.