Radicchio is a leaf chicory with red pigmentation. Derived from the ‘Rosa di Treviso’ types grown in the Veneto and Trentino regions of northern Italy, in the 15th century. Varieties are named after the Italian regions where they originate. The deep-red radicchio of today was engineered in 1860 by the Belgian agronomist Francesco Van den Borre, who used a technique called imbianchimento (whitening), preforcing, or blanching to create the dark red, white-veined leaves: radicchio plants are taken from the ground and placed in water in darkened sheds, where lack of light and ensuing inhibition of chlorophyll production cause the plants to lose their green pigmentation. Delicious radicchio recipes.