Venetian Cabbage Soup

Flavour of the day: Parmesan, the Parmesan and butter in this soup make it deliciously creamy and decadent. It may not look either of those things but trust me it is. It may not look like a soup much either, it is a kind of risotto/soup hybrid.

New cook book: Homemade with Love – Jennifer Perillo, this book, quite simply, is beautiful. It is much thicker than I thought it would be with so many amazing recipes and I have only let myself read a quarter of it. I am so excited to make my own yogurt the proper way (without sachets) and to start making my own nut milks and ricotta, yes home made ricotta!!! I am trying very hard to contain my excitement long enough to sit here and type this post before I jump around doing the ‘I AM GOING TO HOME MAKE ALL THE THINGS’ dance. Please check out Jennier Perillo’s blog ‘In Jennie’s Kitchen’, it is exquisite. The next few posts will be recipes I have found on her blog as I have been cooking up a Middle Eastern themed storm in the kitchen this weekend.

Onwards with purple soup, it may not be pretty (to some, I think it looks delicious but some people are put off my its purpleness), or sound particularly appetising (red cabbage soup/risotto, or more formally Venetian smothered cabbage soup) but trust me on this, it is divine. I mentioned in my post about Molly Wizenberg’s Orangette that my favourite recipe from her blog so far was this soup, so here it is in all it’s glory (and very slightly adapted by me).

purple soup

First things first you need to make a batch of smothered cabbage, this is best done the in the morning or the night before as it takes around two hours, the longer the better.

Ingredients for smothered cabbage (from Orangette who adapted the recipe from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (a book I am dying to get my hands on):

  • One large red cabbage ( I love red cabbage but this works for all cabbage varieties), finely sliced, I used my spiralizer to speed up the job.
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil (the recipe says 1/2 cup but I can’t quite let myself put that much oil in)
  • One red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp (I just pour a good glug in) of red wine vinegar


(Warning: this is A LOT of cabbage)


  1. In a large sauce pan (there is a lot of cabbage) heat the oil and add the onion, once the onion begins to soften add the garlic and cook until they begin to brown.
  2. Add the cabbage to the pan and ensure it is coated in oil (you may need to add a little more). I never have a big enough pan so usually have to wait for the cabbage at the bottom to soften before I can do this.
  3. Once all the cabbage has wilted, season and add the vinegar, stir.
  4. Reduce the heat to very low and cover the pan.
  5. Stir occasionally and leave it for AT LEAST 1.5 hours, I would recommend at least 2 hours, if not 3.

Smothered cabbage is great as it is, I always save some to have with roast dinners. This recipe is also good for using up cabbage and you can freeze it, ready for purple soup on demand.

Purple Soup Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)

  • One ‘smothered’ cabbage
  • 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of water
  • 210g of Arborio rice
  • 30g of butter
  • 40g of grated Parmesan
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


  1. In a large saucepan add the cabbage, stock and water and bring to the boil.
  2. Add the rice, a pinch of salt and simmer for 20 mins.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan.
  4. Season if needs be.
  5. Serve and prepare to be amazed (at about 400 calories if serving 6).

One thought on “Venetian Cabbage Soup

  1. Pingback: Hello, December | Noisette

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