Risotto coi Fagiolo Rossi Recipe


2/3 pound cabbage or savoy cabbage

2 teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons onion, chopped, very fine

Six or seven fresh sage leaves

1  1/2 cups, Italian arborio rice

10 ounce canned red kidney beans, drained, or one cup dried beans, soaked and cooked

Black pepper to finish

2/3 cup Parmesan-Reggiano plus more for the table


Risotto coi Fagiolo Rossi Recipe

Risotto with Red Kidney Beans

from the cookbook Marcella's Italian Kitchen

Earthy and comforting are words that come to mind in describing this risotto. The flavor base is cabbage, shredded fine, and cooked with onions sautéed in butter. The rice is added when the cabbage is more than half done, then cooked or drained, canned beans are added. At the end, the risotto is beaten with grated Parmesan Reggiano and sage-scented melted butter.

1. If using regular white cabbage, remove any bruised or discolored leaves, rinse the cabbage well in cold water, and cut into quarters. Cook it in abundant boiling water with 1 tablespoon salt for 10 minutes. Drain well, but reserve the water in the pot.

2. If using savoy cabbage, remove any discolored leaves and attach the other leaves from the head as described. Rinse the leaves in cold water. Cook the larger leaves first in abundant boiling water with salt. Cook for seven minutes, then remove from the pot with a large slotted spoon or spatula. Cook the smaller leaves in the same manner for 4 to 5 minutes. Reserve all the cooking liquid.

3.  Cut the cooked, drained, cabbage or savoy cabbage into very fine shreds.

4.  Choose a large, heavy bottom casserole and add 3 tablespoons of the butter and all the chopped onion. Turn the heat on to medium high and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until it becomes a pale gold.

5. Meanwhile, in another pot, bring to a simmer the cabbage liquid.

6. When the onion in the casserole has become pale gold, turn down the heat to medium, add the shredded cabbage, and cook, stirring from time to time, until the cabbage dissolves to a nearly creamy consistency.

7. While the cabbage is cooking, pull the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan together with the sage leaves and turn on the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, only until the butter becomes colored a pale gold; otherwise, it will become too pungent. Set aside.

8. When the cabbage has reached of almost creamy consistency, add the rice to it, and turn on the heat to medium high. Stir until all the grains of rice are well coated, then add a ladelful of simmering liquid, previously used to cook the cabbage.

9. Stir steadily with a wooden spoon until all the liquid in the casserole has evaporated, then add another little ladelful from the simmering pot. Continue this procedure, adding liquid, stirring until the liquid evaporates, then adding more liquid, for about 15 minutes.

10. Add the beans, salt, and grind of pepper. Stir thoroughly and steadily, as described above, adding a ladelfull of liquid, when necessary, until the rice is cooked, al dente, tender, but firm to the bite. When you see that the rice is nearly done, make sure you have enough liquid in the casserole to achieve a slightly runny consistency. Taste for salt.

11. When the rice is done, turn off the heat and mix the grated cheese. Put in the sage, flavored butter, pouring it through a strainer. If the butter has harden too much to pour, melted briefly over medium low heat. Stir the risotto thoroughly and serve immediately. Have additional grated cheese available at the table.