Pink radicchio is a relative newcomer to the radicchio scene but has wasted no time captivating the culinary community with its spectacular color and form. There is truly no other salad green that hits its amazing deep pink/salmon spectrum. Derived from a sport found in fields of Rosso di Verona, pink radicchio are sometimes refered to as "Rosa di Veneto" a play on the word "rosa" which means both pink and rose (the flower) in Italian. While work has been done to reign in the pink type and develop more uniform varieties, there is quite a bit of variability in form. Mantovano represents an early incarnation of the type and features a delightful spectrum of shape and color from tall, loose almost treviso-esque shapes to compact dense heads and everything in between. They are best used in raw salads as the color is wasted on cooking.
Plants are relatively cold hardy and are very late to develop their pink color, not until December here in the pacific NW, and thus can be challenging to grow in regions that have rapid, harsh transitions from fall to extremely cold winter temps before that time. As with all radicchio, be especially mindful of your planting dates as a successful crop requires a MUCH narrower planting window than most garden vegetables. Planting early will result in bolting, NOT an earlier crop