This is a dish of rural origins. Country people, when talking about this dish, will tell you to pick out a beautiful, big cabbage because they want a big dish to satisfy a good appetite. My mother learned to make it from our maid Maria when we were living in Naples. It became a staple in wintertime when the winds from the north made even Naples a little chilly!
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 thick slice Bacon
2 Onions coarsely chopped
1 head cabbage (preferably Red)
5 cups hot water
1 beef or chicken bouillon cube
2 cups Arborio rice
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
In a large pot, heat the olive oil, add the bacon, cook briefly and then add the onions. Cook over low heat, stirring often for about 5-7 minutes.
Meanwhile cut the cabbage into strips. Wash well, but do not drain the strips too much. Add them to the pot. Stir well, cover the pot and simmer until the cabbage is almost cooked, about 15 minutes, stirring every once in awhile. If mixture is dry, add some of the hot water.
Meanwhile, bring the hot water to a boil and add the bouillon cube.
Pour the broth over the cabbage and bring to a boil. Add the rice, stir and cook until the rice is tender, about 18-20 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Serve with additional Parmesan.
Recipe courtesy "My Love For Naples", written by Anna Teresa Callen, Hippocrene Books, 2008
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