Radicchio pasticcio (Italian chicory lasagna)

Radicchio pasticcio (Italian chicory lasagna); Recipe from Veneto.

This radicchio pasticcio is a delicious traditional vegetarian lasagna from Veneto, Northern Italy. Made with Italian chicory, pasta, shallots, béchamel and cheese, it comes together easily and tastes wonderful!

Radicchio pasticcio (Italian chicory lasagna)

Pasticcio di Radicchio.

Here in Veneto, Northern Italy, baked pasta dishes made with flat lasagne sheets are often called pasticcio. In fact, when I first came to live here, I found it rather confusing! What not lasagna? However, most often these are made with local seasonal ingredients such as asparagus, mushrooms or, like this recipe, radicchio plus béchamel. Radicchio pasticcio is probably the most loved of these local dishes!

Radicchio pasticcio (Italian chicory lasagna)

Lasagne or pasticcio?

In reality, there seems to be some confusion between the terms ‘lasagne al forno’ and ‘pasticcio’ even among Italians. Lasagne al forno (also known as lasagna outside of Italy) originates from Bologna and is the most well-known type of lasagna. It’s made with Bolognese sauce. However, there are many lasagne al forno recipes made with other ingredients, like this poached salmon and asparagus lasagne al forno.

Radicchio pasticcio (Italian chicory lasagna)

On the other hand; some Italians, especially in the South, use the name ‘pasticcio’ to refer to other types of baked pasta dishes. Interestingly, the word ‘pasticcio’, literally means ‘mess’! I guess this is most probably due to the fact that the ingredients in a ‘pasticcio’ are not normally separated or layered (except in Veneto!). Everything is mixed together and baked in the oven. In Southern Italy,  a pasticcio is often encased in or covered with pastry. This type of baked pasta is also called a timballo.

Ingredients for radicchio pasticcio (Italian chicory lasagna)

Greek Pasticcio

The Greeks have a well-loved dish called pasticcio/pastitsio which is baked pasta with meat and sauce. In all likelihood, the Greek name came from the Veneto name, as the old Republic of Venice ruled the Greek Ionian islands from the mid-14th century to the late 18th century. Interestingly, the Italian word ‘lasagna’ comes from the Greek word ‘laganon’.

washed radicchio leaves

Whether you think of this recipe as a pasticcio, a lasagna or a lasagne al forno, it’s a delicious vegetarian baked pasta recipe. It’s also pretty easy to make. The main ingredient, apart from the pasta sheets, is radicchio also called Italian chicory.

chopped radicchio cooking in frying pan

Radicchio

Radicchio is a leafy chicory which has been grown here in Italy since the 1600s. It’s very popular here in Veneto, as well as, Trentino and Friuli Venezia Giulia. There are different types of radicchio. Among the most common is ‘radicchio di Treviso’ which looks like Belgian endive. That’s the type I used for this radicchio pasticcio.  Also widely used here are ‘radicchio di Chioggia’ which is round and looks a bit like a purple cabbage and ‘Tardivo’ radicchio, which resembles flowers. Italians use a lot of radicchio in salads. But, they also cook it in risotto and with pasta, like in this radicchio pasticcio recipe.

radicchio and shallots cooking in frying pan

The cheese

In addition to the radicchio, this pasticcio contains just some shallots, a homemade béchamel, grated Parmesan and another local cheese called taleggio. Taleggio is a soft cow’s milk washed-rind cheese with an interesting, pungent and aromatic taste. It is normally ripened for about 40 days. This is a very ancient cheese that originally comes from the Taleggio valley near Bergamo. It was, apparently, first made there in the 10th century!! Taleggio is eaten on its own or used in cooking. It melts really well and is great in a risotto or with polenta. Instead of taleggio, which may be difficult to find outside of Italy, you can use brie, scamorza, robiola or fontina.

cooked radicchio, bechamel and grated cheese in frying pan

The pasta

I didn’t make my own lasagne sheets for this recipe but bought ready-made fresh ones from Giovanni Rana. This company makes extra thin lasagne sheets so you don’t need to precook them! However, if you can’t find fresh pasta and don’t want to make your own, dried is fine. You will need to blanch the pasta sheets in boiling salted water before assembling your radicchio pasticcio. If you want to try your hand at making your own lasagne sheets have a look at the recipe.

Radicchio pasticcio (Italian chicory lasagna)

Since this radicchio pasticcio (Italian chicory lasagna) has only a few ingredients it doesn’t take long to prepare. To speed things up you can use ready-made béchamel! I made my own. Even so, it didn’t take that long to have this baked pasta on the table. However, despite it being easy it’s seriously delicious. I’m sure you’ll agree with me if you try it.

Radicchio pasticcio (Italian chicory lasagna)

Let me know what you think.

If you make this radicchio pasticcio (Italian chicory lasagna) recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. So, please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Buon appetito!

Radicchio pasticcio (Italian chicory lasagna)

Other radicchio recipes to check out here on The Pasta Project!

  1. Fettuccine with radicchio and speck.
  2. Busiate with radicchio pesto.
  3. Beetroot and radicchio pesto.

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5 from 19 votes
Radicchio pasticcio (Italian chicory lasagna)
Radicchio Pasticcio (Italian chicory lasagna)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

A delicious traditional vegetarian lasagna from Veneto, Northern Italy. Made with Italian chicory, pasta, shallots, béchamel and cheese, it comes together easily and tastes wonderful!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Northern Italy, Veneto
Keyword: baked pasta recipe, lasagna, lasagne al forno, pasticcio, radicchio
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
Ingredients
  • 250 g lasagne (lasagna) (9oz) fresh or dried
  • 2 shallots peeled and finely chopped
  • 700 g radicchio (Italian chicory) (24oz) I used 2 Treviso radicchio but you can use the round one as well
  • 200 g taleggio cheese (7oz) or brie, fontina, robiola or scamorza
  • 90 g Parmesan or Grana (3 oz) grated
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For the béchamel (white sauce)
  • 40 g butter (1.4 oz)
  • 40 g all purpose flour (1.4 oz)
  • 500 ml milk (17 floz)
  • 1-2 pinch nutmeg grated
Instructions
  1. Peel and finely chop the shallots. cut the taleggio cheese into cubes. Wash the radicchio and cut it into thin strips.

  2. In a frying pan or iron skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil. Cook the peeled and finely chopped shallots until they start to soften. Add the radicchio and cook for 10-15 minutes over a very gentle heat. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Make the béchamel (white sauce)
  1. Put the butter in a pan over a low heat, melt it, add the flour and mix until it forms a thick paste (roux). Then, remove it from the heat. At this point, slowly add the milk and stir continuously to dissolve the roux without making lumps. Put the pan on a moderate heat and keep stirring constantly until it starts to simmer and thicken.

  2. Lower the flame. Wait a couple of minutes. Then, turn it off, add a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg, mix it again for a few minutes and then allow it to cool to thicken it further. 

Finish the dish
  1. In a large bowl combine the radicchio, half the grated cheese and the béchamel sauce, mix well and, if necessary, add salt.

  2. If using dried pasta you will need to bring a pot of bailing salted water to a boil and then blanch the pasta sheets individually. Place them spread apart on a tea towel. Don't allow them to stick together.

  3. Put a layer of lasagne sheets on the bottom of a greased oven dish. Cover it with a couple of ladles of the béchamel and radicchio mix. Distribute some of the Taleggio cheese pieces onto the radicchio sauce. Sprinkle a little Parmesan or Grana Padano. Then cover with another layer of lasagne. Continue until the ingredients have been used up, ending with a thin layer of radicchio sauce. Sprinkle again with grated cheese and add a few pieces of taleggio. Bake at 180 degrees.

  4. Cook for the first 10 minutes covered with aluminum foil and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes uncovered (until the cheese on top is golden). Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly and serve.

Recipe Notes

This is one of the simplest versions of this traditional recipe. Some people also add fried speck or pancetta or walnuts or gorgonzola, instead of soft white cheese. All these additions make for a really tasty lasagna too!

Instead of taleggio, which may be difficult to find outside of Italy, you can use brie, scamorza, robiola or fontina.

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Radicchio pasticcio (Italian chicory lasagna)

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32 Comments

  • Shernell P Cooke
    October 14, 2018 3:29 am

    This recipe looks amazing. I love the use of radicchio. Great job.

  • Sharon
    October 12, 2018 8:48 pm

    Oh wow, I definitely learned something new here. Thanks for explaining the different Italian terms so well. Having to transition to more vegetarian dishes, I’ll be giving this one a try!

  • Catherine Brown
    October 11, 2018 11:55 pm

    I ALWAYS learn something new on your posts Jacqui! I haven’t experimented with radicchio very much, but this dish looks incredibly satisfying and I can’t wait to get my hands on some radicchio now. 🙂

  • Beth
    October 9, 2018 7:57 pm

    This is such a delicious sounding recipe! What a list of ingredients! I can’t wait to give it a try! My family will love it!

  • fiona saluk
    October 8, 2018 5:41 pm

    sstoppp this sounds so good! And I loved the little history lesson about the different types of pasta bakes 🙂 I have never seen radicchio in a baked dish like this and I’m really curious to try it out! yum!

    • Jacqui
      October 9, 2018 11:12 am

      Thanks Fiona! Glad you like the little bit of food history! Radicchio is delicious cooked. I’m sure you’ll agree if you try this dish!

  • Julie @ Running in a Skirt
    October 8, 2018 3:47 pm

    What a delish dish! I didn’t know that they call lasagna noodles something different either! So interesting. Can’t wait to try this.

    • Jacqui
      October 9, 2018 11:14 am

      Grazie Julie! Yes I was confused when I first came to Northern Italy and found lasagna called pasticcio! But, whatever name this recipe goes by, it’s superlicious! Hope you’ll try it!

  • Katie Crenshaw | A Fork’s Tale
    October 8, 2018 1:41 pm

    Sweet Heaven! This looks so INCREDIBLE! I love, love, love béchamel sauce. I definitely am going to make your beautiful Radicchio Pasticcio recipe. I am drooling just thinking about it.

  • Lathiya
    October 7, 2018 10:08 pm

    The lasagna looks scrumptious…can be devoured warm in a cozy weather night

    • Jacqui
      October 9, 2018 11:25 am

      Thank you Lathiya! This lasagna is truly scrumptious! Perfect winter dish!

  • Ginny McMeans
    October 7, 2018 8:47 pm

    This is such an original lasagne recipe! I never would have thought to add veggies as you did. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Jacqui
      October 9, 2018 11:25 am

      Thanks Ginny! Happy you like this lasagna! It’s very traditional here in Veneto where I live. Def one to try!

  • Amanda
    October 7, 2018 8:18 pm

    I love any pasta with a bechamel sauce. Everything in this recipe looks so good and comforting. Can’t wait to give this a try!

    • Jacqui
      October 9, 2018 11:27 am

      Grazie Amanda! I love pasta with bechamel too, especially baked pasta! This recipe is so simple and yet so flavourful. I’m sure you’ll think the same once you try it!

  • kim
    October 7, 2018 6:31 pm

    This looks delicious and what great flavors! Can’t wait to give it a try!

    • Jacqui
      October 9, 2018 11:29 am

      Thank you so much Kim! I love the flavours in this recipe too. I’m sure you’ll love it as much as we do!

  • Eden | Sweet Tea and Thyme
    October 7, 2018 5:51 pm

    Looks so yummy! I never heard of anything like this, I’m so glad you explained it so well.

    • Jacqui
      October 9, 2018 11:30 am

      Thanks for you comment Eden! This is a unique lasagna but so full of flavour! I hope you’ll give it a try!

  • Anne Lawton
    October 7, 2018 5:22 pm

    Yum! This sounds so much better than lasagna that I’m used to eating. I’m going to give this a try!

    • Jacqui
      October 9, 2018 11:32 am

      Thanks for stopping by Anne! I’m sure you’ll love this lasagna! It’s simple but very tasty and, as you say, different to the more well-known lasagna recipes!

  • Stephanie
    October 4, 2018 6:52 pm

    This sounds absolutely delicious. Love the idea of adding radicchio to pasta and also the creamy white sauce. Can’t wait to try.

    • Jacqui
      October 4, 2018 6:58 pm

      Thank you Stephanie! radicchio with pasta is delicious. Very popular here in Veneto! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

  • Elaine Benoit
    October 4, 2018 4:47 pm

    This lasagna looks outstanding. I love that you added radicchio in the filling! I need to make this asap as my hubby and I are big fans of radicchio!

    • Jacqui
      October 4, 2018 6:59 pm

      Thank you cara Elaine! If you love radicchio, you’ll love this dish!

  • Stephanie
    October 4, 2018 4:21 pm

    This sounds amazing.. What a great way to use radicchio and the white sauce just takes it to the next level of Yum. Can’t wait to try this.

  • Lauren Vavala @ DeliciousLittleBites
    October 4, 2018 3:57 pm

    I haven’t had radicchio except in salad but I’ll have to try it this way because it sounds amazing!

    • Jacqui
      October 4, 2018 4:22 pm

      Thank you Lauren! Cooked radicchio is very good! We use it a lot here in Northern Italy. Hope you’ll give this lasagna a try!

  • Mindy Fewless
    October 4, 2018 3:52 pm

    This is so yummy!!! And it’s a great way to get my kids to eat some extra veggies!

    • Jacqui
      October 4, 2018 7:00 pm

      Grazie Mindy! You are right, great way to get the kids to eat veggies!

  • Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
    October 4, 2018 3:51 pm

    This looks absolutely incredible – we love lasagna in our house but don’t have it often enough.Definitely need to give this recipe a try.

    • Jacqui
      October 4, 2018 4:23 pm

      Thanks Bintu, I’m sure you’ll love this type of lasagna. It’s so flavourful!

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