Pancetta-Wrapped Radicchio

Updated February 23, 2016

Although this may seem elaborate, the payoff is huge when the rollicking flavor of the raw onion pickle kicks up a poetic harmony against the muted bitterness of the cooked radicchio and the sweet triumph of Italian pork belly.

Makes4 servings

Cooking Methodpan-frying



Total Timeunder 2 hours

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Courseappetizer


Taste and Textureherby, meaty, savory

Type of Dishvegetable


  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup cold water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 large red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces pancetta, sliced paper-thin
  • 4 heads radicchio, quartered
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves


In a small bowl, combine the red wine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Add the onion and let stand for 1 hour.

Unroll the slices of pancetta and wrap 2 pieces of pancetta around each radicchio quarter. Set aside.

Heat a 10- to 12-inch nonstick sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Gently place the radicchio in the pan and cook, turning frequently with tongs, until the pancetta is browned and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover with foil, and keep in a warm place.

Drain any fat from the pan, and add the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Remove from the heat.

Drain the onions, discarding the liquid, and arrange one-quarter of the onions in a small pile in the center of each plate. Lean the warm radicchio pieces up against the onions like a teepee, and spoon about 1 teaspoon balsamic sauce over each piece. Sprinkle with rosemary and serve immediately.



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