• Cabbage risotto (risi e verza) (Paola Bacchia)

You can use vegetable stock to make this dish vegetarian, but I like the depth of flavour you get from using homemade chicken stock. I generally use everyday green cabbage but feel free to experiment with other varieties.






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  • 750 ml (25½ fl oz/3 cups) chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 30 g (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • ½ brown onion, finely diced
  • ½ cabbage, thick spines removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled, bruised and left whole
  • 200 g (7 oz/1 cup) carnaroli, vialone nano or arborio rice
  • sea salt and ground white pepper
  • 50 g (1¾ oz) parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and keep it simmering.
  2. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium– low heat until the butter has melted. Add the onion, then reduce the heat to low and sauté for about 7 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the cabbage and garlic clove and stir well, then add about 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) of the hot stock. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes until the cabbage has softened, stirring occasionally so the cabbage doesn’t stick to the base.
  3. Add the rice to the pan and stir so the rice warms through and is coated with the buttery cabbage. Add a ladleful of hot stock and stir well, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid. When all the liquid has been absorbed, add another ladleful of stock and continue cooking the rice as described – you want to keep it quite soupy. Continue cooking for about 20 minutes, adding stock as needed (or boiling water if you run out of stock) until the rice is cooked but still has a bit of bite. Remove the pan from the heat, add salt and pepper to taste, and remove the garlic clove (if you can find it!). Stir in the grated parmesan, then cover and let the risotto rest for a few minutes.
  4. Serve on warmed plates, with extra parmesan on the side.


Recipe from Adriatico: Italy's Adriatic Coast (Smith Street Books). Photography by Paola Bacchia.