Carnaroli rice – nicknamed ‘the caviar of rice’ – is grown in the Italian towns of Novara and Vercelli, located between Milan and Turin. Carnaroli is traditionally used for making risotto, differing from the more common Arborio rice due to its higher starch content and firmer texture. Carnaroli keeps its shape better than other types of rice in the slow cooking process, making for a more textured dish. The extra starch in the Carnaroli rice is responsible for the creaminess of the risotto, so it is important not to wash the rice grains before cooking them. In this particular dish, the chili flakes add a welcome punch to the creaminess of the rice and the onion, and the bite-size zucchini slices should remain firm while the inside is soft, hot and juicy.
500 gr/ 1 pound large cooked and peeled shrimp
2.5 dl/ 1 cup dry white wine
3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, minced
2.5 dl/ 1 cup risotto rice (Carnaroli)
5 dl/ 2 cups vegetable stock
1 zucchini, sliced
1 tsp dry chili flakes
fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the large shrimp lightly together with minced garlic and white wine. Set aside but keep the juices the shrimp have released.
Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Saute the minced onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion softens and becomes golden. Add the risotto rice and continue frying until the grains become glassy. Little by little, pour some vegetable stock and liquid from the pan you used to fry the shrimp. Keep stirring. Add the zucchini slices when the risotto is nearly ready. For Carnaroli rice it takes about 15 minutes to be al dente. At this point, add the already sauteed shrimp and mix without cooking any further. Season with chili flakes and sprinkle flat leaf parsley on each plate.
Cabbage is a true superfood and contains fiber, vitamins A, C, K and B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, folate and potassium. Green veggies are also low in calories, and are therefore ideal for weight management. According to one study, by increasing your daily green leafy vegetables intake you could lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by 11 percent. This recipe comes from Northern Italy’s Piedmont region, which is mainly known for agriculture. Poor farmers used in the kitchen everything they had, and never threw anything away. Therefore these Savoy cabbage rolls can be filled practically with anything. When purchasing cabbage, try to avoid pre-cut or preshredded cabbage because of their greatly diminished vitamin content. Peak season for most cabbages runs from November through April.
1 Savoy cabbage
300 gr/10 oz minced meat
100 gr/3.5 oz rice
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated nutmeg
100 gr/3.5 oz grated Parmesan cheese
2.5 dl/1 cup strong beef stock
Rinse the Savoy cabbage leaves and soak them in salted boiling water for a few minutes until the leaves soften. Set the cabbage leaves aside.
Cook the rice in salted boiling water according to the instructions on the package. Fry the minced meat in a pan and season with salt and pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg. Combine the minced meat together with the rice and add the grated Parmesan cheese and egg. Mix well.
With the help of a spoon, put some minced meat and rice filling in the middle of each cabbage leaf. Wrap the leaves shut and put them one by one into a baking dish that has been greased lightly with olive oil. Drizzle some olive oil on the surface and bake in the oven, preheated to 180 C/355 F, for 45 minutes. Prepare the very strong beef stock and pour 2-3 tablespoonfuls over the cabbage rolls once every 10 minutes.