Italian Cabbage and Rice

Christina Conte is 100% Italian, but was born in Scotland and now lives in California…so she makes everything ranging from Bruschetta to Sticky Toffee Pudding to Spicy Soba Noodles with Chicken and Peanut Sauce. She believes natural, simple and unprocessed ingredients are the best, and loves cooking, baking, and (cr)eating. You can find her millions of food photos, old family recipes, and what’s she’s just cooked at Christina’s Cucina, and you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus.

This is a guest post for October Unprocessed. If this is your first time here, welcome! …and it’s not too late to join in!

Italian Cabbage and Rice

 

This Italian Cabbage and Rice is truly a “peasant dish”; my Nonna in Italy made it often, probably because it stretched ingredients to help feed her very large family. However, to tell you the truth, I’d rather have this warm, comforting and tasty meal, than some fancy haute cusine, any day of the week!

If you are just beginning your “unprocessed journey” and are finding it challenging, you’re doing something right! It isn’t easy in the beginning, but soon you’ll realize that there are so many better options and alternatives to the processed ingredients you have been using, you’ll kick yourself for having used them for so long (I know I have). I am constantly “weeding out” ingredients which I’ve been using mostly out of habit, and replacing them with homemade or unprocessed versions.

Recipes like my Nonna’s Italian Cabbage and Rice are a step in the right direction on the road to enjoying unprocessed meals everyday. It is simple, yet empowering. It is inexpensive, yet delicious, but most of all, it’s healthy! Going “unprocessed” is truly a journey, and as with any journey, it takes time, so have patience and enjoy the ride!

Italian Cabbage and Rice

Italian Cabbage and Rice
Author: 
Recipe Type: Entrée
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 
Cook Time: 
Total Time: 
Serves/Yield: 4-6
 
There's really no way to mess this up. Make it more soupy (add more water) for wintertime, or more dry for the hot summer weather. There's no right or wrong amount of vegetables, and as long as the rice is cooked, the length of cooking time can vary greatly too, and will not affect the final outcome in a significant way; it's a very forgiving meal!
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • one medium onion, diced
  • 1 or 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • ¾ cup tomato purée (or fresh tomatoes, pureed in a blender)
  • 4 to 5 cups of water
  • one medium Savoy cabbage
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (more or less to your preference; you can always add more later)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅓ to 1 cup arborio rice (or any other rice)
  • Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (to serve, optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot, over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and celery when hot. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes, until onion starts to become opaque.
  2. Remove the core from the cabbage (I eat this part, it's very yummy and good for you too!) and chop into thin strips.
  3. Meanwhile, add the tomato purée to the celery and onion and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Next, add the water (you can always add more later) and salt; then add the cabbage. Stir often, and bring to a boil, then allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, still continuing to stir occasionally.
  5. Then add the rice. Use less for a more soupy dish, more for a drier result.
  6. Stir well, and continue to simmer for 30-40 minutes, until rice is cooked.
  7. Serve with plenty of grated Parmesan (or Pecorino Romano) cheese!
Notes
This is a perfect crock pot meal too. Just sauté the veggies, then transfer to the crock pot, adding the rest of the ingredients. Let cook all day. Easy-peasy!!

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44 Comments on "Italian Cabbage and Rice"

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Christina
Guest

Thank you, Andrew, for featuring my Nonna’s Italian Cabbage and Rice recipe for October Unprocessed! I’m sure she would have been delighted to know that her recipe is being shared with so many people who have a common goal to eat better and live healthier lives! CC

Lentil Breakdown
Guest

I love peasant food like this but have never seen a recipe like this. Am excited to try it out!

Christina
Guest

So happy you’re going to try it! Let me know what you think! 🙂 CC

tanya
Guest

I will archive in my folder and make this winter! I love cabbage and this seems simple and warming and tasty…comforting!

Christina
Guest

It is, Tanya! Let me know how you like it! Thanks! CC

Lisa
Guest

So you put the rice in uncooked to the crockpot? I’ve never done rice in a crockpot before but like the idea. Thanks.

Lisa

Christina
Guest

Yes, Lisa, however, just make sure you make a more soupy, than dry version in the crockpot. I would recommend using about 1/3 cup of rice with the amount of water specified in the recipe. Or, if you like more rice, just add more water. You just don’t want it to be too dry and end up sticking in the crockpot. Let me know how you like it! CC

viva
Guest

Could a short grain brown rice be substituted?

Christina
Guest

Yes, Viva, you can use any type of rice! Enjoy! CC

Laura
Guest

I forgot how much I love this dish. I can’t wait to make it.

Christina
Guest

Yay!! So happy to have reminded you, Laura! 🙂 CC

Midge
Guest

Wow, what a simple and comforting dish! I don’t eat cheese, but I think I can whip up a Parmesan alternative (Andrew, does nooch pass the kitchen test?) to finish the dish with. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Christina!

Christina
Guest

You are very welcome, Midge! You can skip the cheese altogether if you can’t find an alternative…it’s still so yummy! CC

Marge Evans
Guest

yuym yum! I going to make this, and then make it whith kimchi.

Christina
Guest

Oh my, Marge! That sounds great! I actually make a kimchi soup which is rather similar to this…let me know how it goes! CC

R. Lampe
Guest

This sounds similar to the unwrapped pigs in a blanket(minus the meat)that I enjoy. I gotta try it.

Christina
Guest

R. Lampe, yes, you are absolutely right! It tastes like Pigs in a Blanket, but SOOOO much less work! Hope you like it as much as I do!! 🙂 CC

maureen cameron
Guest

It looks delicious but you really can’t say that white rice fits with unprocessed October. It has been well and truly processed!!

Christina
Guest

Maureen, I wrote this post a while ago, so you can just substitute whatever sort of rice, or even spelt or farro, you are using during October Unprocessed 😉 CC

Veggie Val
Guest

You had me at “no way to mess this up.” But knowing I can use the crockpot is even better! Thanks!

Christina
Guest

Ha ha! 🙂 You’re welcome, Val, I’m sure you’ll love it! CC

Michele J
Guest

. Cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables. Cannot wait to try!

Christina
Guest

Awesome, Michele! So glad!! Please come back to tell me how you liked it! 😉 CC

Dana @ Foodie Goes Healthy
Guest

Christina– you make the best comfort food, and there’s nothing better than a recipe from Nonna. I especially like your idea of making this dish with farro. The beauty of this dish is the simplicity, but have you ever added any other vegetables?

Christina
Guest

Thank you, Dana! No, I always make it this way because I love it so much, but my mum said you can add white beans, like cannelinni, which would also add protein. I’m sure you could add any veg you like…couldn’t hurt! 😉 CC

Susan
Guest

What a homey and cozy dish of nutrition! I am reminded of Marcella Hazan when I look at this dish … may she rest in peace.

Christina
Guest

Aww…that’s so nice of you to say, Susan. Yes, exactly the sort of thing Marcella would make. I am trying to do my small part to continue her quest to make sure authentic Italian recipes are being preserved and passed on. CC

Lori
Guest

We made this last night, using quinoa instead of rice, it was so very yummy! I think we’ll be adding it at a staple recipe from now on!

Christina @ChristinasCucina
Guest

Thank you for coming back to let me know, Lori! That makes me happy! So glad you liked it, and I just may try it with quinoa, too! Thanks! CC

Devyn
Guest

Has anyone used normal cabbage? Does it change the cook time or amounts at all? 🙂

Christina
Guest

Hi Devyn, yes, I’ve used regular cabbage when I can’t find Savoy and you cook it exactly the same way. This should be the lowest stress dish you will ever make; don’t worry about exact cooking times, measurements, etc. Remember, you can’t mess this up! 🙂 Enjoy, CC

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