Risotto Wrapped in Cabbage Leaves

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

The valley of the Po River; which runs clear across northern Italy, still grows the short-grain rice that gave today’s gastronomic world risotto but for centuries gave the region a subsistence grain and a subsistence living. This recipe yields the kind of family dinner that would make a bit of meat go a long way. It’s subtle and quiet in flavor, like so much true Italian food, letting you enjoy the soft fullness of the fully cooked rice and cabbage.

Serves6 to 8 as a first course

Cooking Methodpan-frying



Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseantipasto/mezze

Dietary Considerationegg-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Taste and Texturecreamy, meaty


  • 16 cabbage leaves
  • ½ cup Arborio rice
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons, plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Ligurian
  • 5 ounces ground veal
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Flour for dredging


  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the cabbage until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  2. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the rice and a generous pinch of salt and cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  3. Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan or skillet over high heat. Add the veal, season with a pinch of salt, and cook until the meat browns, about 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine the veal, rice, eggs, cheese, a pinch of salt, and a generous amount of black pepper. Stir thoroughly until it forms a smooth mixture.

  4. Pat the cabbage leaves dry and lay them out flat on a work surface. Trim away the tough mid-rib at the base of each leaf, if necessary. Put 1 tablespoon of the veal mixture in the center of each leaf. Fold the sides of the leaves toward the center and roll up from the bottom.

  5. Lightly dredge each cabbage roll in flour. Heat the ¼ cup olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage rolls and fry on both sides until golden brown. Serve hot.


Free recipes, giveaways, exclusive partner offers, and more straight to your inbox!


I have not made this yet so I cannot rate it.

Include a Photo Include a Photo

Click the button above or drag and drop images onto the button. You can upload two images.

Cancel Reply to Comment

Thanks for your comment. Don't forget to share!


Report Inappropriate Comment

Are you sure you would like to report this comment? It will be flagged for our moderators to take action.

Thank you for taking the time to improve the content on our site.

Sign In to Your Account

Close Window
Sign In with one of your Social Accounts
Facebook Twitter
Sign In using Email and Password