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Caramelised Chicory (Witlof) with Cheesy Gorgonzola Conchiglioni Rigati Pasta

9 March 2024

Yes yes! It’s still chicory season, at least until the end of April, and oh so healthy! Full of vitamins A, B and C and loads of other healthy minerals. Don’t like the bitter taste? Then you haven’t cooked it like this yet!

These little babies are first blanched and then slowly sautéed and caramelised in honey, orange juice and thyme. Together with large pasta shells coated with a creamy gorgonzola béchamel sauce, oh baby, this is good! (of course you can use any other pasta as well 😉

Caramelised Chicory (Witlof) with Cheesy Gorgonzola Conchiglioni Rigati Pasta

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Dinner Italian
By Saffron Serves: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes


  • Braised Chicory
  • 4 chicories / Witlof
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Zest & juice from 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2-3 twigs of thyme
  • 150 - 200 g pasta of choice
  • Béchamel sauce
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 50 g all purpose flour
  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 150 g gorgonzola
  • 50 g Parmesan, finely grated
  • Nutmeg, freshly grated
  • Pepper & Salt to taste


Braised Chicory (20 minutes)


Zest the orange and set aside.


Peel the outer bruised leaves of the chicory and trim a small slice off the stem, but not too much to make sure the chicory stays together. Slice the chicories in half lengthwise.


Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and blanch for 1 minute to soften slightly.


Add the thyme, olive oil and melt the butter in a large frying pan. When foaming, add the chicories, cut size down. Turn the heat down and slowly braise, without moving around for the first 5 minutes.


When nice and browned, flip them over and turn up the heat. Deglaze the pan with the orange juice and honey, toss to coat. Continue to braise, while tossing now and then, until nice and browned on all sides and the sauce is reduces and syruppy. Just before serving stir in the orange zest. Mix well.


In the meantime cook the pasta until al dente, ± 8 - 10 minutes (see packaging).

Béchamel sauce (10 minutes)


Add the butter to a small sauce pan (low-medium heat), when melted add the flour and whisk through.


Keep whisking for about a minute, until it turns a slightly darker yellow colour, it will start to bubble up.


Slowly add in the milk, drop by drop. Keep whisking so no lumps form.


Turn the heat up a bit and let the sauce cook for ± 6-7 minutes until it starts to thicken. Keep stirring!


Grate in the nutmeg and mix through.


Turn the heat down to loaw and mix through the gorgonzola and parmesan until the cheese is melted through.


Taste and season with pepper and salt.


Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and mix well to coat.


Serve steaming hot with the braised chicory divided over the top and a drizzle of the chicory sauce.

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