Wait! Before you leave because (let’s be honest) this looks like an unappealing bowl of mush – my limited photography skills could not figure out how to make a mostly white blob look good – let me tell you a secret. It’s delicious.
The original title of this recipe was “Caramelized Cabbage Risotto”, but my boyfriend took one bite and declared it to be “French onion soup in risotto form!” He’s not a risotto fan, either, so the fact that he enjoyed this one so much is a great sign. You caramelize onions and cabbage together before making a cheesy, rich risotto that just screams winter comfort. I love risottos but often find them not quite the way I want them – too al dente, not al dente enough, a little too bland or too salty – but this one hits the spot. Also, if you use vegetable stock, it’s a vegetarian dinner, and doesn’t this fit all of our usual January resolutions?
The recipe calls for green cabbage, but I used Napa because that’s what I had on hand (and it more commonly lives in my fridge, anyways). I’m sure it’d be great with green cabbage, but I personally would remake it again with Napa because I love how mild and sweet the flavour is. Plus, Napa goes with so many things – you can throw it into most Asian dishes to boost your this-is-a-healthy-meal goals, and even my raw-vegetable-averted taste buds like it in a salad.
“French Onion” Risotto
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman. Serves 4.
- 5 tbsp (70 grams) butter
- 1.5 tbsp (20 ml) olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 Napa cabbage (can also use green), thinly sliced (about 570 grams sliced)
- 1 tsp coarse or Diamond kosher salt
- 6 cups (1.25 liters) chicken stock (I used less)
- 1.5 cups (280 grams) Arborio rice or other starchy short grain white rice
- 1/3 cup (70 ml) white wine
- 1/2 cup (65 grams) grated Parmesan or Asiago
- Black pepper
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and the olive oil in a large deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cabbage to the pan, toss them gently with the butter and the oil, reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pan. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, then remove the lid, add salt, and cook, stirring, for 20 to 25 minutes. You can bump up the heat if necessary – you want the cabbage to be soft and the onions to be moderately caramelized and golden. Deglaze it with a splash of broth, then scoop into a bowl.
- Wipe out the pot. Heat 1.5 tbsp butter in it over medium-high heat. Add rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute more. Pour in about 1 cup broth and cook at a strong simmer, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes more.
- Continue simmering and adding broth a splash or two at a time, stirring frequently, and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is just tender (al dente) and looks creamy but loose, 18-20 minutes. Add the cabbage mixture, and if needed, thin the risotto with another splash or two of broth.
- Remove from heat and stir in the cheese, remaining 2.5 tbsp of butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with extra cheese.