Last Updated on March 28, 2021 by Chef Mireille
Milanese Cabbage Rice is a very simple comfort food homestyle bowl of food that has different versions throughout many parts of Italy – in Italian known as Virze Rise.
I have often said that I don’t know why cabbage gets treated like the forgotten step child. People find the smell offensive – I don’t know why. I love cabbage and use it often. It cooks quickly and is such a versatile vegetable.
I recently discovered this super simple Italian recipe. This is a very traditional homestyle Italian recipe and I imagine every house has a version of it. There are regional variations to this recipe as I discovered in Naples it is made without tomatoes where tomatoes are included in Milan. I went with the northern Italian version, with tomatoes. The tomatoes add a nice sweetness, which creates a great balance with the cheese.
With the cheese added at the end, a creamy almost porridge like consistency is the end result. However, if you would like it even creamier feel free to add more water or cheese as desired.
With just 5 ingredients, this is just an easy comfort food. A bowl of this on a cold winter day will just hit the spot.
With my exploration this week into traditional regional Italian cuisine, even I was amazed at how good the food was as my natural tendencies usually go to cuisines with more spices like Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. I think I have discovered the secret to why Italian food is so much beloved. All it needs is very simple ingredients, but not crowding any dish with too many ingredients. By using very few ingredients, the natural flavor in these is allowed to shine and you don’t need much to create really delicious food. Also, a good bit of good quality cheese – come on, we all know cheese makes everything better! I think that is the most important requirement. Don’t use that stuff that comes in the can that includes fillers. You want to use the natural cheese and adding this freshly shredded cheese makes all the difference in these simple recipes.
Want to see how easily this dish comes together? Here you go!
Milanese Cabbage Rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 very small onion thinly sliced
- 8 cups chopped cabbage
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1 cup crushed tomato
- a few sprigs of oregano
- 1 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmaggiano Reggiano cheese
- Salt to taste
- In a large pot, heat oil.
- Add onion and saute until softened.
- Add cabbage and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened – about 5-8 minutes.
- Add rice and cook for about 2 minutes, while stirring to well coat the rice.
- Add tomatoes, 2 ½ cups water and oregano.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20-25 minutes, until rice is soft.
- Add cheese and salt. Stir to combine.
Here are some more traditional Italian foods you might enjoy!