Let's Cook with Meg and Ted

Savoy cabbage and fontina risotto

This is from the January chapter of The River Cafe Green Book. The original recipe contains pancetta too - use 150 g finely sliced pancetta, cut into 2 cm pieces, and add it at the same time as the garlic and fennel seeds, increasing the cooking time for that step from 3 to 5 minutes

1 savoy cabbage, about 600 g
100 g butter
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
1 inner white heart of a head of celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly ground
300 g carnaroli rice
1.5 litres of stock
150 g fontina, cut into 1 cm cubes
100 g parmesan, freshly grated
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash the cabbage and remove the thick stalks. Cut the cabbage into very fine shreds. Heat the stock and check for seasoning.

Melt the butter in a large, thick-bottomed pan. Add the onion and celery, and cook slowly to soften for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in three tablespoons of the shredded cabbage and let it cook into the buttery vegetables for a few minutes.

Add the rice, and stir to coat with the vegetables. When the rice grains become opaque, start to add the hot stock, ladle by ladle, only adding the next when the rice has absorbed the last. Continue to cook until the rice becomes al dente, about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the remaining cabbage in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 3-5 minutes until tender. Drain well.

Finally, stir the fontina cheese cubes into the risotto, then the cooked cabbage and stir to combine. Serve with the freshly grated parmesan and season to taste.

April 2003

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