PUNTARELLA

Puntarella, which translates literally to “pointy thing,” is a variety of chicory that grows naturally in Lazio. Puntarella gets its name from its long, tapered greens, but it’s not only the greens that the Romans use–they have also been known to grind the very bitter puntarella roots as a cheap coffee substitute. The slim puntarella leaves grow outward from the lightly colored head, deepening in both color and bitterness towards the tips. The younger the puntarella, the less bitter the taste, but the bitterness of a more mature green is beautifully subdued by different strong flavors, such as anchovies or capers. At Babbo, we like to counteract the puntarellas bite with a smooth anchovy vinaigrette.