radicchio and taleggio lasagna with pesto mushroom bonus

The idea for this radicchio experiment popped up in our Facebook feed, but we have a long history with radicchio, so it was inevitable that one day we might end up here. The taleggio addition came from nosing around the web. We love taleggio, so sweet and creamy and in this case worth a shot at countering the possible bitterness of the radicchio. At first we were also considering adding mushrooms to the mix from our happy experience with risotto years earlier, but since we were doing a pesto lasagna back to back, we thought we might temper the strong taste of pesto a bit with the sauteed ground mushrooms, armagnac treated of course. It was the fourth week of social isolation during the 2020 corona virus attack, and the kitchen was a comforting place.

After the fact we discovered that chopping up the radicchio and soaking it for 30 minutes would suck out some of the natural bitterness. Too late. Another trick was to first saute some shallots in oil and then toss in the radicchio. We reversed this advice, sauteeing the shallots afterwards and then tossing in the already sauteed radicchio. Better late than never?

The taleggio is not very cooperative when you are trying to cut it into little cubes. Simply too soft. We stuck half in the freezer while we fought with the first half. The cold definitely stiffened up the cheese, making it a bit easier to achieve the desired result, but it is still tedious depositing the little pieces one by one on each layer of the lasagna. Sticky little suckers. Next time we will think in advance.

Why did we wait so long to try this lasagna variation? It is a lot of work with the whole wheat noodle production so it was easy to go with a sure thing, which our traditional Roman lasagna surely was and still is. But without some adventurism, new discoveries are never made.


3/4 lb fresh whole wheat lasagna noodles (see recipe link)
4 c beschamel sauce
2 heads of radicchio
2 large shallots
light olive oil for sauteeing
2 c,  maybe more, freshly food processed parmigiano
0.6 lb taleggio
1 9x9x3.3 in square springform pan with gutter rim lock, or the equivalent


  1. Put your taleggio in the freezer an hour before assembly to stiffen up, but watch it so it does not freeze.
  2. Make your noodles. Or buy some whole wheat sheets and pass them through the pasta rollers to mark 6 thickness.
  3. Make your beschamel sauce, usual recipe. Set aside.
  4. Chop the radicchio finely, soak in cold water 30 minutes, then saute finely chopped shallots in olive oil and when softened, add the radicchio and cook down. Set aside. When cool, mix in to the beschamel sauce.
  5. Line your pan with parchment paper. Just clamp your springform pan down on it to lock it to help prevent possible leakage.
  6. When ready for assembly, boil 2 noodles at a time and lay out on towels to absorb water. Cut to size, using pieces to patch together inner layers so no noodles go to waste.
  7. Start with a thin layer of beschamel radicchio sauce, then the first noodle layer.
  8. Then spread sauce over the pasta layer and sprinkle with parmigiano and patiently place the sticky little taleggio cubes evenly across the layer, and repeat until you have used up your noodles.
  9. Finish with the last layer of sauce and cheeses.
  10. Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes or more if done the day before and refrigerated overnight.


  1. Our whole wheat pasta recipe.
  2. Our first experience with radicchio: risotto with radicchio and mushrooms.
  3. A later encounter: san pietro e paolo purple pizza (crema di radicchio).
  4. We inherited our square springform pan from Fabrizio: a Nordicware Square Non Stick Springform Pan, with the bottom lock sides.
  5. The full lasagna story is here (including the pesto version).
  6. Illustrations available.

pesto mushroom bonus lasagna

Being confined to our home with food high on our attention list, we decided to try two different lasagnas given the big effort that goes into the production, and also since we were only three for dinner, we could sample the two types, and have leftovers for "curbside pickup" by the inlaws. A total of 1.5 lb pasta recipe would be roughly divided into two parts, with a bit of an edge towards the new radicchio experiment.

We've done straight pesto lasagna in the past, and found you have to be really careful not to overwhelm the dish with too much pesto in the mix. This time we decided to add mushrooms to add to the taste and texture. Rather than sauteeing chopped mushrooms, we food processed the baby bellas (peeled first) into what looks like cooked ground beef, and sauteed them to lose the moisture, then heating off some tossed in Armagnac to boost the flavor. We then used maybe 45 percent of the 1.5 lb noodle recipe for this one, and maybe 2/3 c prepared  pesto spread on each layer of beschamel pasta and parmigiano, the usual treatment, details are not so important. The mushroom made a pleasant addition to contrast the pesto.

lasagnaradicchio.htm: 20-apr-2020 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]