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Rice and Savoy Cabbage Venetian Style - Risi E Verze Alla Veneziana

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The Venetians introduced rice, which they got from the Arabs, to northern Italy, and developed a number of dishes that combine rice with other ingredients; the best known is Risi e Bisi, Rice & Peas, which was only prepared when the Doge (Venice's ruler) allowed. Risi e Verze, Rice & Savoy Cabbage, is a bit more plebian, and simple winter fare. To serve 4:

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups (250 g) Vialone Nano or other short-grained rice, e.g. Arborio
  • 1 pound (450 g) Savoy cabbage
  • An onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (40 g) freshly grated Parmigiano
  • Salt & white pepper to taste
  • 1 quart (1 liter) beef broth, stock, or unsalted bouillon (meat or vegetable), simmering

Preparation:

Strip off and discard any blemished outer leaves the cabbage may have. Separate the rest, rinse them, and shred them.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a pot and sauté the chopped onion until it is translucent gold. Add the cabbage leaves and continue cooking, stirring them about with a spoon, until they have wilted. Add a cup of hot broth to the pot, cover, and simmer over a low flame for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the rice, add the remaining hot broth, check seasoning, and simmer until the rice reaches the al dente stage and the broth is absorbed. Incorporate the cheese into the rice, check seasoning, and divvy the rice into four bowls, seasoning each with a twist or two of white pepper. Serve at once with a white wine, for example a Grechetto or a Soave.

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