The Power of Cabbage & A Traditional Family Recipe!

A fantastic dish from the Campania region that was said to originate in the 1700s and what history buffs believed it to be a dish served to noble guests. This delicious recipe is known to be the oldest of the rice-based dishes. A tasty soup that consisted of primarily rice and cabbage. It has undergone several variations over the centuries and is no longer considered a soup, but a savory rice and cabbage dish cooked slowly with other fantastic ingredients and reduced to a divine, creamy consistency, soaking up all of the aromas and flavors. A real cure-all comfort food served on cold winter days, but one that we enjoy throughout the year! Below is my family’s traditional recipe.

Several studies have indicated that a high intake of leafy vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of a number of chronic disease. Cabbage, is one of the most important vegetables grown worldwide and contains beneficial bioactive compounds such as vitamin C, carotenoids, chlorophylls, phenolic compounds and sulforaphane.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): an essential vitamin that is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant that boosts your immune system, may help manage high blood pressure, and has been show to have a protective effect on thinking and memory, to name a few.

Carotenoids: produce the bright yellow, red and orange colors in plants, vegetables, and fruits. They are a class of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) that act as antioxidants. They have been shown in studies to have strong cancer-fighting properties, anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits.

Chlorophylls: responsible for the green color of plants, it allows plants to absorb light from the sun and convert it into energy. It has been shown to have beneficial properties such as promoting the production of red blood cells, absorb toxins and is a powerful antioxidant.

Phenolic Compounds: have long been associated with a variety of beneficial properties including having antioxidant, antiviral, anticancer and anti-inflammatory activities.

Sulforaphane (glucosinolate): a sulfur-rich compound that is activated when vegetables are cut, chopped or chewed. Sulforaphane has been shown in numerous studies to have powerful health benefits such as, reducing inflammation, neutralizing toxins, and may have anticancer effects.


Servings: 6 Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour


• Large savoy cabbage (about 2 pounds) • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil • 2 garlic cloves, whole • Pinch red crushed pepper • 2.5 ounce rind of Parmigiano-Reggiano (about two pieces) • 6 cups water • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano • Sea Salt and ground black pepper, to taste • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. Remove outer layer and stem from the cabbage. Cut in quarters and cut each quarter into long thin slices, like julienne. Wash, drain and set aside.

  2. In a large pot, or dutch oven, add olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper and sauté until garlic turns a blond color. Add cabbage, paremigiano rind, and salt. Cover and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Remove garlic and add water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes then add rice. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes on medium-low heat or until rice is cooked. Stir often to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pot. Add water if necessary.

  3. Once the rice is cooked, add parmigiano cheese, mix well and let it rest for 5 minutes.

  4. Serve topped with extra virgin olive oil and grated parmigiano.

Notes: 1. You can add about 2.5 oz of prosciutto or 'guanciale,' cut into small dices, with the olive oil and garlic.

2. Store for 1 to 2 days in an airtight container and refrigerated. Re-heat on stove-top by adding a little bit of water.

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