Chicory, catalonia, puntarelle: often there is confusion and it is not clear what these vegetables are and how they can be used in the kitchen.

Difference between chicory and puntarelle
Chicory is a plant of the Composite family or Asteraceae, botanically classified as Cichorium Intybus. There are many varieties of chicory, which are divided, in turn, into chicory catalogne from leaves and stems, root chicory, radicchio or chicory from coffee, depending on their function.

Milano Radicchio, sugar loaf, variegata di Castelfranco, chicory from Treviso are the best known. The least known are those with important roots, such as Magdeburg chicory or Soncinol chicory, bitter zest chicory or Chiavari chicory. it is called. And then we have the asparagus chicory (also called catalonia or cimata chicory and mazzocchio) which in one of its two varieties produces the well-known shoots that hide inside the head and which are precisely the famous puntarelle. There is no shortage of bud chicory, cut chicory and wild chicory. A family as rich as it is beneficial for the body, whose vegetables are first of all known for their purifying and remineralizing virtues, excellent for embarking on a detoxifying diet.

Puntarelle: how to clean and cook them
The puntarelle are therefore a delicious and particular part of the chicory topped, its sprouts often very expensive in the supermarket, where they are usually sold already clean, are sold in whole head on the market stalls and are usually cheaper. Cleaning the sprouts and turning them into a delicious dish of Roman chicory requires a little practice and “art”. The so clean and “curled” puntarelle can be seasoned with an emulsion based on extra virgin olive oil, lemon or white vinegar, minced garlic, a couple of anchovies cut into pieces and mashed. In addition to the raw version, Roman style, chicory can also be prepared cooked. In this case the sprouts can be simply cut into 4 and can also be used The leaves are simply boiled for a couple of minutes in a pan with plenty of lightly salted water, then drain and sauté them in a pan with a crushed garlic rump, extra virgin olive oil and chilli to taste. way, they can also be used to season pasta, spaghetti for example, adding only grated pecorino or parmesan to taste and pine nuts or other dried fruit such as walnuts, hazelnuts.

Chicory is a useful vegetable against drowsiness and for the health of the kidneys and liver. What are the properties and calories?

Chicory stimulates concentration, helps fight drowsiness, has laxative power, stimulates the activity of the pancreas and liver. Thanks to its properties it helps regulate the amount of glucose and cholesterol in the blood; it is therefore a particularly valuable food for those suffering from diabetes or high cholesterol. Chicory contains chicory, inulin, choline, tannin, starch, mineral salts and vitamins, all substances very useful to the body, thanks to which this vegetable boasts astringent, tonic, disinfectant and detoxifying properties. gallbladder and kidneys and stimulates digestion. Wraps made with chicory decoction help soothe skin irritations. Finally, chicory is considered a real cure-all for acne.

Calories and Nutrition Facts of Chicory 100 g of chicory contains 10 kcal / 42 kj. In addition, for every 100 g of this product we have:
Water 93.4 g.                   Phosphorus 31 mg
Carbohydrates 0.7 g.      Vitamin B1 0.03
Sugars 0.7 g                     Vitamin B2 0.19
Protein 1.4 g                    Vitamin B3 0.3
Fat 0.2 g                          Vitamin A 219 µg
Cholesterol 0 g               Vitamin C 17 mg
Total fiber 3.6 mg
Iron 0.7 mg
Calcium 74 mg

Curiosities about chicory
In the Napoleonic period, in France, the chicory root was used as a substitute for coffee; a habit that was soon spread also in England and the United States. According to popular belief, chicory, especially wild chicory, would be able to awaken eros. It would, in fact, be a natural vasodilator, capable of increasing the blood flow to the male sexual organs.

Chicory is a perennial plant. It has a characteristic bitter taste, due to the presence of alkaloid substances. In reality, however, the flavor varies from chicory to chicory, because there are different types, each with a different palatability, more or less bitter. I wait, to be sure to bring home a fresh product. Chicory leaves must appear free from lesions and dark parts and must not be yellowed.
Source: Valeria Gatti