The dinner we ended up serving didn’t resemble, even remotely, anything my mother would have served when we were growing up. While our mom’s food is amazing and tasty and very steeped in regional traditions, it can be heavy (did we really eat minced beef with a fried egg on top??) and vegetable poor. Our staple veggies were simple salads, roasted potatoes and the occasional pea thrown in somewhere.
“We cook very differently from mom” I commented.
“Some of it is by necessity” my sister remarked. The necessity of cooking healthy, she meant.
After my long vegetarian stint, and my current separation from the little meat I eat, I have become the queen of vegetables. For years, I sought recipes that helped me prepare familiar vegetables in new ways, and try unfamiliar ones. Los Angeles is a mecca for never heard of vegetables or weird varieties.
My sister, whose boyfriend is from Rome, has learnt to cook and appreciate dishes with a more Southern flavor. This is one of those dishes.
In the interest of full disclosure, we made this with no sausage, as I don’t eat it. It was still extremely delicious. But the original recipe does include sausage (luganiga, if you live in Italy).
1/2 to 3/4 of a whole savoy cabbage, washed and cut in small strips
1 Liter vegetable or chicken stock
2 or 3 links of sausage (luganiga or something not spicy), skin removed and broken in small chunks
1 1/2 to 2 cups of Arborio (or other risotto) rice
1/2 onion, diced small
1/4 cup of white wine
1/2 cup of golden raisins
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan and butter to finish
- Keep a pot with the stock warm on the stove.
- Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot on medium heat and add the onion. Sauté until soft. Add the sausage and the cabbage and sautee a few minutes more.
- Add the rice and stir to coat in oil. Add the wine and let cook until completely evaporated.
- Start adding the stock, a few ladles at the time, stirring with a wooden spoon until absorbed, before adding more.
- Continue adding stock and stirring. At some point, season with salt and pepper. Add the raisins in the last five minutes.
- After about 20 minutes the rice should be cooked. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Remove the pot from the stove and add couple of tablespoons of butter and Parmesan to taste. Stir and serve immediately.