There has been a head of napa cabbage from Troy Farm lingering in my fridge for approximately the same time since I last wrote here. The cabbage fared better than my creative self, which has missed taking photos, trying new recipies and bouncing words around in my head. So the cabbage and this site made plans for this rainy November afternoon.
My sister was the one who first told me about this recipe for smothered cabbage. She read about it on Molly Wizenberg’s blog, who adapted it from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. This is the perfect thing to make on a cool Sunday when you can drift around home smelling the onions, garlic, oil, butter and cabbage melt into each other. Next you add broth and rice and then more butter and parmesan cheese. The result is a thick soup that isn’t too easy on the eyes, but makes up for it in taste.
Rice and Smothered Cabbage Soup
From Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by way of Orangette
1 batch Smothered Cabbage (see below)
2 cups (475 ml) chicken or beef broth*
1 cup (235 ml) water, and maybe more
2/3 cup (about 135 grams) Arborio rice**
2 Tbsp. (28 grams) unsalted butter
About 1/3 cup (roughly 1 heaping handful) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Freshly ground lack pepper
In a good-size pot (about 4 quarts), combine the cabbage, the broth, and 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice, and then lower the heat so that the soup bubbles at a slow but steady simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender but firm to the bite, about 20 minutes. If you find that the soup is becoming too thick, add a little water. The soup should be pretty dense, but there should still be some liquid.
When the rice is done, turn off the heat, and stir in the butter and the grated Parmesan. Taste, and correct for salt. Serve with black pepper and more Parmesan.
*I use veggie broth or water to make it vegetarian
**I like to use brown basmati rice
Smothered Cabbage, Venetian Style
1 small yellow onion, chopped
½ cup (120 ml) olive oil*
1 (~2-pound / 1 kg) Savoy or green cabbage, quartered, cored, and very thinly sliced
2 or 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. white or red wine vinegar
*I used a combination of safflower oil and butter
Put the onion and olive oil in a Dutch oven (or another pot of approximately the same size), and set over medium heat. Cook and stir until the onion is pale gold, and then add the garlic. Continue cooking until the garlic is fragrant and looks cooked through, a few minutes, and then add the sliced cabbage. Stir a few times to coat the cabbage with oil; then continue to cook until it’s wilted. Add a couple of generous pinches of salt, a grind or two of pepper, and the vinegar. Stir to mix, and then cover the pan and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 1.5 hours, or until the cabbage is very, very tender. If the pan seems dry at any point, you can add a tablespoon or two of water. When the cabbage is done, taste for salt, and season as needed.
Happy Sunday. It’s time for me to dig in.