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Risotto with Savoy Cabbage and Parmesan
Serves 4 to 6
The emphasis here is squarely on the sturdy virtues of Savoy cabbage. To prepare it for the risotto, the cabbage is shredded, tossed with sauté ed onion and pancetta, and cooked to a dark brown color. When the full, rich flavor of the cabbage has been developed, the rice is added and the making of the risotto gets under way.
3 Tablespoons chopped onion
l/2 cup pancetta cut into very thin strips
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
4 Tablespoons butter
1 lb Savoy cabbage, shredded very fine
5 cups Homemade Meat Broth (or 2 bouillon cubes dissolved in 5 cups water, or 1 cup canned beef broth diluted with 4 cups water)
1 1/2 cups Italian Arborio rice
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano (Parmesan)
Black pepper in a grinder
1. Choose a heavy-bottomed pot such as enameled cast iron or multilayered steel and put in the onion, pancetta, oil, and 3 tablespoons of the butter. Turn on the heat to medium high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion becomes colored a light gold.
2. Add the shredded Savoy cabbage, a little salt, turn with a wooden spoon 2 or 3 times, cover the pot, and turn down the heat to medium. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the cabbage has become colored a rich nut brown.
3. Bring the broth to a low simmer.
4. Add the rice to the pot containing the Savoy cabbage, uncover, and raise the heat to medium high. Stir the rice quickly and thoroughly with a wooden spoon, then add a ladleful of broth. Stir constantly, wiping away the rice from the bottom and side of the pot, until the broth has evaporated. Add another ladleful, and continue this procedure until the rice is done. When cooked, it should be firm to the bite, but cooked through, without a chalky center. When the rice is done, there should be sufficient broth left in the pot to give it a slightly runny consistency. If you run out of broth before the rice is done, continue with plain water.
5. Add the grated cheese, the remaining tablespoon of butter, stir well, taste and correct for salt, and sprinkle with liberal grindings of pepper. Transfer to a warm platter and serve at once.