I found radicchio “tardivo” (late-term, a variety from Treviso) at the greengrocer today and decided to make an easy, delicious Italian radicchio pesto recipe with just walnuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil.

italian radicchio pesto recipe


This radicchio pesto recipe is a classic of contemporary Italian cuisine, made in kitchens all over the peninsula. It’s a great pesto to season pasta but also to spread over toasted bread. 

The sweetness of walnuts compensates for the bitterness of radicchio. Parmesan adds umami flavors, and the creamy consistency enfolds each pasta string (or piece) evenly. It is a true pleasure to the palate! 


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italian radicchio pesto

Making radicchio pesto is as easy as blending all the ingredients in a food processor. The order is the only crucial variable: the walnuts go first as they’re the crunchier ingredient, and this will help the amalgamation with the other ones.

italian radicchio pesto with walnuts

Italian radicchio pesto with walnuts

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4
Author Claudia Rinaldi


  • 1 radicchio head - about 150 gr
  • 40 gr of walnuts - unshelled
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil - about 30 gr
  • 0.7 oz parmesan cheese - 20 gr
  • sea salt
  • black pepper


  1. Trim - cut off the top - and clean the radicchio. Dry it with a kitchen cloth and set it aside.
  2. If needed, unshell the walnuts. Transfer them to a food processor, add the olive oil, and pulse until coarsely chopped.
  3. Cut the parmesan into small pieces and add it to the food processor as well. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper (4-6). Pulse for a few seconds to amalgamate.
  4. Add the radicchio and pulse until your desired consistency: crunchy or creamy. The important thing is that the ingredients are well combined. Help yourself with a spatula to press down what sticks to the walls.
  5. Ready! Cook any short or long pasta according to the package directions, and simply season each serving with one to two tablespoons of your Italian radicchio pesto.

Enjoy your easy and delicious Italian radicchio pesto!