Nick Risidi, of Amici Ristorante in East Parade, Keighley, revisits his Italian roots for another taste of the Mediterranean

CAN you believe it is November already?

After a strange 2020 – to say the least – the end of the year is almost upon us. It has been a very peculiar eight months or so, so let’s focus on something more normal – things that happen every year.

November in Italy is a truly wonderful time, although it can be a little unpredictable too. The weather can really vary, from city to city, from day to day.

If you are planning a trip you won’t know exactly what to pack until just before you leave, but generally you are going to need a jacket and an umbrella, as you can expect a few rainy days.

Temperatures can range from as high as 12C in northern locations like Venice and Milan, but the down in the south, in the likes of Naples and Sicily, the temperature can reach as high as 19C.

Depending on where you travel, you can expect eight to nine hours of daylight, and those days can be truly beautiful, especially with all the golden autumn foliage.

As November progresses the number of tourists decreases, especially the further up north you travel, so if you prefer your holidays to be a little more chilled out, with as few tourists as possible, then November is the time to visit.

For the best experience, visit the landmarks first thing in a morning, for the best chance of having them to yourself as far as possible. On an evening, because it gets dark early, you can expect emptier cities too, perfect for a quiet stroll where you can enjoy the beautifully-lit cities with minimal crowds.

Things like beetroot, Brussels sprouts, fennel, pumpkin and artichokes are all aplenty at this time of year. As for seasonal fruits, apples, clementine, grapes, pears and pomegranates are in season.

With Christmas around the corner, it is fortunate that November is overflowing with festive favourites like Brussels sprouts and clementine, but I’ll save the festive recipe for next month.

This month I’ll be focusing on quite a simple food that is in season in Italy – cabbage. Cabbage may not seem all that exciting, but it is such a versatile ingredient, with many different varieties available. It might even have been one of those foods you desperately avoided when you were younger, but you can actually do lots of things with cabbage. In this recipe I’ll be showing you how to prepare a delicious roast cabbage dish.

Crispy and caramelised on the outside, with a sweet centre, served with lentils and potato wedges, this dish is perfect for warming up on a cold evening.



100ml extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves (crushed)

2 small winter green cabbages

For the new potatoes:

750g baby new potatoes

1 tbsp olive oil

2 lemons (for the zest)

For the lentils:

1 tbsp olive oil

2 onions (finely chopped)

2 celery stalks (finely chopped)

400g tin chopped tomatoes

250g red lentils

3 tbsp sundried tomato purée

2 vegetable stock cubes

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 small bunch of basil (finely chopped) plus a few whole leaves for serving


1. Preheat the oven to 180 C fan/200 C/gas mark 6. Fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil. Add the potatoes and blanch for roughly 10-12 minutes, until they are tender. Drain and leave to cool.

2. To prepare the cabbage, remove the outer leaves and cut each cabbage into six wedges. Combine the olive oil and garlic before rubbing all over the wedges. Season with salt and pepper before laying out on a large baking tray. Roast on the top shelf of the oven for 15 minutes.

3. While your cabbage is cooking, place the new potatoes on a large baking tray and crush gently with a potato masher (or the back of a spoon if you don’t have one) so that they split open slightly. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and lemon zest.

4. After the cabbage has roasted for 15 minutes, take it from the top shelf and place it on the bottom shelf. Place the potatoes on the top shelf of the oven. Cook for 45 minutes, turning halfway through.

5. To prepare the lentils, heat the oil in a medium size saucepan and fry the onions and celery until they are soft and appear translucent – this takes roughly 10-15 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, 450ml water, tomato puree, stock cubes and vinegar into the pan and bring to the boil for 30-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture appears dry, add a little water to prevent it from sticking. Stir in the basil and an additional 50ml of boiling water. Season with salt and pepper.

6. To serve, spoon the lentils out onto the plates and top each one with a cabbage wedge. Garnish with extra basil leaves and serve with the potatoes on the side.