“Cabbage is Dirt”

Or so says my son. Somehow my assertions that it is healthy and good for a teenagers’ skin and vitality fall on deaf ears and he is adamant that it is indeed “dirt”.

Even when I stuff the cabbage with a deliciously cheesy risotto with juicy, sweet morsels of pumpkin, the sight of green things in a pan is enough to ensure a torrent of grunts and moans fills the kitchen.

He eats a pasty and chips…..and a few peas…..then heads upstairs to apply face scrub.

So here is a way of taking a starchy, carb loaded meal and adding a little bit of green to remove the guilt factor.

Pumpkin Risotto stuffed Cabbage Leaves

Start by making the risotto

Take half a pumpkin or a small butternut squash. Peel, deseed and cut into smallish cubes. Then roast, boil or steam until just tender.

Now take
1 Onion – finely chopped
1 Stick celery – finely chopped
1 Clove garlic – finely chopped
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 glass white wine – optional
200g arborio or carnaroli rice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
About a pint of stock
Large knob of butter
A good sized chunk of Parmesan or vegetarian alternative

Heat the oil in a large pan then add the garlic, onion and celery and fry gently until soft. Now add the oregano then the rice. Stir so the rice is coated in the oil then add the wine.

Now add the stock a ladle at a time stirring, almost massaging, the stock into the rice so the starches are released. Each time the stock is absorbed add more until all the stock has been absorbed. Now add the diced, cooked pumpkin or squash, butter, cheese and season with salt and black pepper. Cover and turn the heat off. Leave to cool.

Bring a large pan of water to boil then take the large outer leaves of a savoy cabbage and plunge them in the boiling water for 30 seconds until just softened. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop them cooking.

Cut out the toughest part of the stem from each leaf.

Oil a large oven proof dish then take a cabbage leaf, place a spoonful of risotto in the centre then gently warp the leaf around the filling and place, seam side down in the dish. You should get 8-10 good sized leaves stuffed with the amount of risotto.

Heat the oven to 180C. Make up 500ml of stock and pour over the stuffed cabbage leaves. Cover with a lid of foil then bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

Serve with a tender leaf salad and a balsamic dressing.

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