This Red Cabbage Risotto recipe combines healthy cabbage with hearty arborio rice and savory cheese for a comforting winter meal. We paired it with an interesting Italian red wine that helped the dish really shine.
Risotto is definitely great comfort food. Substantial and cheesy, it definitely warms your insides. Yet although we have had plenty of cold weather over the past few months, I hadn’t made risotto yet this season. Until Sunday.
I couldn’t have picked a more perfect time for my first risotto making of the season! As the snow piled up outside and the winds howled, I was stirring a pot of red cabbage risotto. The steam from the slowly cooking rice was so warming I had to change to a lighter shirt!
Red cabbage can add nice flavor and color to a dish. Raw red cabbage can add a nice crunch to a salad. Featured in this red cabbage risotto, the cabbage adds brilliant color along with some good vegetal flavor, nicely balanced by the Pecorino Romano cheese. The cheese, rice and cabbage come together for a tasty and satisfying winter main course.
Making Red Cabbage Risotto
Getting some broth warming on the stove is a first step to making red cabbage risotto. I used some leftover beef we had to make a beef broth, but you could certainly use vegetable broth to make this a vegetarian dish.
Sauté the onion in the risotto pan for a few minutes before adding the red cabbage. The cabbage cooks until it gets soft, followed by the garlic. Then it’s time to add the arborio rice used for making risotto. Give it a good stir to get the rice coated with the onion and cabbage.
Wine is the first liquid that gets added to the red cabbage risotto. After the wine cooks down, you start the process of gradually adding broth to the risotto. While the process does require frequent stirring, it doesn’t have to be constant. You can step away from the risotto pot for a few minutes to attend to other things in the kitchen. Just don’t go too far! It will be time for more broth soon.
When most of the broth has been used and absorbed, the rice should be starting to get tender. Finish up the dish by stirring in some good cheese, and you are ready to sit and enjoy a delicious and brilliantly purple dish, red cabbage risotto!
Red Cabbage Risotto Wine Pairings
I went off the beaten path for a red cabbage risotto wine pairing. We opened a bottle of 2014 Velenosi Lacrima Di Morro D’Alba ($18, 12.5 % ABV). This wine is from Italy’s Piedmont region, better known for growing Nebbiolo grapes for Barolo. As stated in Wikipedia, “Lacrima is an ancient and local grape that is rarely found outside of the town of Morro D’Alba“. This wine is made from 100% Lacrima grapes.
This Lacrima is an elegant wine, cherry taste a bit of tartness and a nice long finish. The subtlety of the wine complemented the rich risotto dish, and let the food stay in the forefront. Definitely a winning pairing!
If you are in the Boston area and want to try to pick up a bottle of the Velenosi Lacrima, I got it at Pairings Wine and Food in Winchester. Other more common wines you might try with the red cabbage risotto would be a Dolcetto or perhaps a Valpolicella.
- 2 cups red cabbage, chopped into thin slices
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup red wine
- 7 cups beef or vegetable broth (vegetable to make the dish vegetarian)
- ½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 tsp high quality balsamic vinegar (optional)
- salt and pepper to tate
- Bring the broth to a gentle simmer and keep warm.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions sauté until the onions start to get soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cabbage sauté for another 5 to 7 minutes, until it starts to get soft. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Add the rice, stir to get it evenly coated with onion and cabbage mixture, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, cook until it is absorbed.
- Add a ladle or two of broth to the rice, stir in and cook on medium low until the broth is absorbed. Add another ladle of broth and repeat process. You need to be stirring quite frequently throughout the process, thought you can attend to other things in the kitchen, too. Once all or most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender to the bite, the risotto is ready to finish. This takes about 30 minutes.
- Stir in the cheese, salt and pepper to taste. If you would like, add 1 teaspoon of high quality balsamic vinegar. Plate the risotto, and enjoy along with a salad and good Italian red wine!