I’ll never cease to be amazed by the incredible wealth of traditional kitchens and their ability to create hearty and delicious dishes out of almost nothing. The ingredients of this dish are simple and economical, but with a little artistry from the cook, they also become fine dolmathes, stuffed cabbage leaf parcels, a classic choice for winter’s festive tables. You see, they are delicious, presentable and symbolize abundance because of the many rice grains and plenty of cabbage leaves. The everyday version of this is “lachanorizo” cabbage with rice. Delicious and fast, this Lenten dish leaves time for the preparation of the holidays.
So here I decided to give the dish a little festive upgrade in order to accompany this delicious ossobuco. Red cabbage gives it an unusual blue/purple color. It’s darker than what you see in the photo and can stay that way if you skip the lemon juice at the end. You could serve it with lemon wedges to be squeezed on each plate. Then everyone at the table can witness the transformation from blue/purple to purple/fuchsia in front of them. The kids will be fascinated (hopefully). Along with the pine nuts, I added some pomegranate seeds. Give them a try.
Recipe for purple risotto
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 1 small red cabbage, cored and roughly chopped
- 300 g short-grain rice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 litre homemade broth, warm
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 50 g pine nuts, lightly toasted
- juice from a lemon
- parsley or dill, finely chopped
Soak the raisins in hot water, for a few minutes.
Heat the oil in a large skillet and sauté the leek lightly for 5 minutes over medium heat. Once soft, add the cabbage, season with salt and pepper and stir well. Covering for five minutes and allow to wilt. Turn up the heat, add the rice and mix well. Add the bay leaf and half the hot broth and stir. Once it boils, add the raisins, cover, turn down the heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Check a couple of times in the meantime, to stir and add more broth if needed. That depends on how much liquid the cabbage leaves while cooking. When the rice is done, add the pine nuts and lemon juice, stir well, sprinkle with dill or parsley and serve.