During the cooler season, you’d see a lot of these being sold in supermarkets and in mercati. They are pretty cheap to get these times, costing about 1 – 1.5 euro a kilogram.
This is called Verza. Also known as a savoy cabbage, it’s pretty much like a regular cabbage, but it has a deep green hue and a bubbly texture. It looks so cool doesn’t it?
Anyway, one great recipe to make out of this is Involtini di verza – stuffed cabbages. I used the recipe here, but made some changes to fit our dietary constrictions. Nevertheless, it’s so yummy that I hope that you’d try them too! (I’m pretty sure it’ll work fine with regular cabbages also)
First boil some water and carefully peel out 12 leaves. Rinse and clean them and then slice away the hard stem. Then dip each one in the boiling water for about 1 – 2 minutes to soften them.
After that you’ll get a dozen floppy verza leaves which will be ready for wrapping. Chop the rest of the unboiled cabbage into small pieces and set it away for the risotto.
Next, finely chop some celery, carrot and onion – this is probably the base of most Italian cooking.
Heat some butter (yes butter!) and olive oil in a pan and fry the soffrito.
When it’s sufficiently softer and glazed, thrown in some rice. (about 300gr or so) It’s best to use carnaroli or arborio or whichever rice which is good for risotto. (Not sure if Basmati or Thai rice is good for this. I don’t plan to experiment!)
Toast the rice in the sofritto for about 5 – 10 minutes or so. And in the meanwhile, boil 1 litre of vegetable broth. We just use those cube stocks.
In the original recipe, you’d use white wine. But we substituted it with tiny bit of balsamic vinegar. You could also add some minced meat or chopped sausages in but we’re leaving that out for a vegetarian version
Now add the broth slowly and stir constantly but leave about one ladle worth of broth in the original pot for spreading in the oven dish.
And now we add the chopped cabbage! (By the way if there are extra because the cabbage was too big, you could turn them into salad 😛 )
Nevertheless, cabbage shrinks (and the rice expands) quickly in heat.
Wow, look at that. It looks like a soupy cabbage soup that I used to eat as a kid. If I cracked an egg, add some su’un and dried lily buds, I think I could even eat it straight away like this.
But we are making this into risotto! So we stir and wait till the rice is almost cooked and at this point we add some grated parmigiano cheese, give a stir and turn off the stove.
While the risotto is still warm, Cart also added some chopped up smoked scamorza cheese for an extra smoky taste.
You could omit this if you don’t have access to scamorza. But it makes the risotto extra cheesy and gooey when you pull it. Like those pizza commercials.
Uh oh! The rubbish bin! SO UNGLAMOROUS! Nevertheless, pour the last ladle of broth in the oven dish. And preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
And now the fun part! We take each leaf …
Put about two spoonfuls of the risotto on top of each leaf …
And wrap it up as snugly as possible. This sort of reminds me of making spring rolls. Yummy! Look at my beautiful involtino!
You should have enough risotto for 12. And after you’re done rolling all 12, spread the top with some melted butter …
And then sprinkle it with some more grated parmigiano.
Now leave it in the oven for about 15 minutes and then after that set it to grill for another 5 minutes. Take it out and leave it to rest for a few more minutes before eating them.
They look so beautiful!!!
And believe me, they are absolutely yummy! I’ve never been that big on eating cabbages, but it’s a wonderfully hearty meal during cold days, so I hope that you try them!
There are still a few more in the fridge, so I’m going to eat them all before Cart gets back from work.
Time to make : About 1.5 hours
Amount of calories per portion : I really don’t care
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