Over the years, as I leafed through Essentials looking for inspiration, I was never tempted by page 94. This was because the main ingredient, Smothered Cabbage, appealed to me not at all. It seemed to be nothing more than oily sauerkraut.
That was pre-Pomodori.e.Vino. That was when I had a choice in what I was going to cook. Now I find a little yellow sticky-note dated 27APR staring commandingly at me from page 94.
OK, so it looks pretty boring, but I’m game. I flip back to page 479 for the Smothered Cabbage recipe. I won’t spend any time talking about this experience, because it’s Jerry or Palma’s gig, and on January 15, 2011 you’ll read all about it from whichever one of them is cooking that day.
I make the Smothered Cabbage, stick it in the fridge and go to bed, still unconvinced that this soup will be anything I will enjoy eating.
Next day, I pull the cabbage out of the fridge, dump it in a soup pot with broth and set it on the fire. When it begins to bubble, I add the rice. When the rice is tender, I pull the pot off the fire and add the butter, cheese and fresh ground pepper. Finito!
No appealing contrasting colors. Little textural variety. Not even a leafy garnish. It's visually unattractive.
I grudgingly admit to myself that it smells pretty good. I credit the parmigiano-reggiano and the butter for that. I also admit that I don’t smell the vinegar as strongly as I had expected to.
I ladle it into a bowl, take my final photo, and sit down to taste.
I eat two bowls full.