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You won’t believe cabbage can taste this good!

Delia's Frugal Food

Sadly unappetising

When cabbage arrives in my Ooooby organic veggie box, I’m reminded of Delia Smith’s cookbook “Frugal Food”. The cover is adorned with a beautifully shot, but nonetheless entirely unappetising cabbage. I wonder how successful that book was (admirable though the idea is).

I am not, as you might have guessed, a cabbage fan. Yes, it’s good in spring rolls, coleslaw and – to a degree – in vegetable soup. But there’s always so much of the stuff! A single, economical cabbage has a half life of weeks, huddled guiltily in the bottom corner of my fridge, no matter how great my resolve to make good use of it.

Then I remembered a shocking discovery which I made this August. My dear Italian friends Davide and Nicoletta made not one, but two, amazing risottos for my visit. One was an old favourite – porcini mushroom – heaven! The other was radicchio. I was sceptical. Although officially a member of the chicory family, radicchio tends to get tarred with the cabbage brush in my mind – it’s bitter and, well, cabbagey. Imagine my surprise when I was going back for seconds – not of the porcini risotto, but the radicchio!

So, if radicchio is good in risotto, how about cabbage?

You guessed it. The creamy rice and parmigiano cheese are just perfect with the cabbage! Even when I used really quite a lot of the stuff, it didn’t get overpowering. Choice!

Creamy cabbage risotto

Olive oil
Parmigiano cheese (or it’s also good with Pecorino, for more bite)
Cabbage – I used the regular pale green smooth kind, chopped finely
Arborio rice – use two handfuls per serve
Vegetable stock
Onion – sliced finely
Garlic – sliced finely
  1. Cover the base of a large saucepan with olive oil & cook onion until soft. Add garlic and cabbage and soften.
  2. Add rice and stir vigorously for a minute or two.
  3. Add a ladleful of stock along with parsley, and stir until absorbed. Keep adding a little stock at a time and stirring until rice is cooked.
  4. Stir in finely grated parmigiano cheese and a knob of butter if you want it even more creamy. Check the saltiness and add more if needed.

It doesn’t look very colourful, so I arranged it nicely on a plate with some asparagus spears. You could also use chives to the same effect…



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