Sides to celebrate
Prep Cook Serves 10 min 20 min 6-8
2 bay leaves
50g butter, plus more for greasing and adding at the end 30ml olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced
1 pinch red chilli flakes 12 anchovy fillets (optional)
A grating of nutmeg Salt and black pepper A dozen or so pitted black olives
100g parmesan Dry breadcrumbs
Pick over the chard, trim any tough ends, cut the leaves away from the stems and cut the stems into 2-3cm pieces.
Plunge the leaves into a pan of boiling water for three minutes, then lift from the water and drain. Add the vinegar and bay leaves to the water, bring back to a boil, add the stems, simmer for eight minutes, then lift out. Keep 500ml of the cooking water.
In a frying pan, sauté the onion in the butter and oil until soft. Add the garlic, chilli and six of the anchovies (if using), and fry gently until the anchovies disintegrate.
Add the chard stems and stir again, then sprinkle over the flour and cook for another minute. Now add the reserved cooking water slowly, stirring all the time, until the sauce is as thick as double cream – you may not need all the liquid. Stir in a little nutmeg and taste for salt and pepper.
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/gas 4 and butter an ovenproof dish. Pour half the mixture into the dish, cover with chard leaves, dot over the olives and remaining anchovies, then pour over the rest of the mixture.
Sprinkle with parmesan and breadcrumbs, dot with more butter and bake for 20 minutes. Prep Cook Serves 10 min 20 min 4
750g radicchio – ideally long treviso, but round chioggia, or 500g radicchio and 250g white chicory will do
4 tbsp olive oil 150g pancetta or bacon, cut in strips, plus extra, diced, for sprinkling (optional) Salt and pepper
Trim the end of the radicchio and pull away any damaged leaves. Cut long radicchio in half, or the round version into quarters, and make two deep cuts into the root end. Wash in cold water and dry.
In a pan large enough to fit everything in one layer snugly, warm the oil and fry the pancetta or bacon over a low heat, so the bacon fat melts and sizzles, but doesn’t brown.
Add the radicchio, turn it a couple of times to coat it in fat, turn the heat down to low, cover and cook, turning twice, until the radicchio feels tender at the root – about 20 minutes.
Season, turn again, then lift everything on to a serving plate. Sprinkle with more crisped-up pancetta or bacon, if you like. Prep Cook Serves
1 large red cabbage 75g butter
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced
2 heaped tbsp soft brown muscovado sugar 1 large cooking apple 3 tbsp red-wine vinegar Salt and black pepper 200ml water or beef stock
100ml red wine
Heat the oven to 150C (130C fan)/gas 2. Cut the cabbage into quarters, discard the outer leaves, cut away the hard central core and shred each quarter finely.
In a large pan, gently melt the butter and oil over a moderate flame, add the sliced onion and fry until soft and translucent.
Add the sugar and cabbage to the pan and stir well to coat. Quarter the apple, core but do not peel, chop it into little chunks, add to the pan, and stir again.
Add the vinegar, salt and black pepper, stir and cover. Cook over a medium flame for 15 minutes. Add the water and red wine, put the pan in the oven and roast for two hours. Prep Cook Serves 10 min 20 min 8 10 min 20 min 6-8 1 savoy cabbage 50ml olive oil 50g butter
50ml white wine, vermouth or water 100g roasted, peeled chestnuts Grated nutmeg Salt and black pepper
Quarter the cabbage, cut away the hard core, then shred roughly.
In a large frying pan, warm the oil and butter, then add the cabbage and cook gently, tossing and turning, until it wilts.
Add a little water or wine, and let it bubble for a few minutes.
Crumble the chestnuts into the pan, grate over some nutmeg, grind some black pepper and a pinch of salt, stir and serve.
Read Rachel’s Tales from an Italian Kitchen on p24