Rigatoni with Cabbage, Creme Fraiche, & Pumpernickel Bread Crumbs

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My father-in-law has lost a considerable amount of weight by eating a raw cabbage salad prior to his meals. Thank goodness he has become quite a cabbage-fan because I couldn’t believe I served him a main dish that incorporated cabbage- an entire head of cabbage! 🙂

The cabbage in this sauce is shredded and becomes completely unrecognizable in the creamy sauce. The crème fraiche added a lovely tanginess and the pumpernickel bread crumbs added a fabulous contrasting texture. We ate it on Thanksgiving Eve with a green salad. It was a delicious dish!

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Mike Lata. I used black forest bacon, mezzi rigatoni, and green cabbage instead of Savoy. I also reduced the crushed red pepper and increased the garlic. We grated additional Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top of each serving at the table. Yum!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 8 ounces pumpernickel bread (with crusts), torn into pieces (3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice (I used black forest bacon)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 head of Savoy or green cabbage (1 1/2 pounds), shredded (I used a food processor)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pound rigatoni or mezzi rigatoni
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  1. In a food processor, pulse the bread until coarse crumbs form. In a skillet, melt the butter in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
  2. Add the breadcrumbs and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 minutes. Season with salt.
  3. In a large straight-sided skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until crisp; transfer to paper towels to drain.
  4. Add the onion, garlic and crushed red pepper to the skillet and cook until the onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until almost all of the stock has evaporated, 8 to 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  6. Toss the pasta with the cabbage.
  7. Stir in the crème fraîche, the 1/2 cup of cheese and, if necessary, the reserved pasta water; season with salt and black pepper.
  8. Transfer the pasta to bowls and garnish with the breadcrumbs, bacon and black pepper. Serve with additional cheese on the side.

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About Josette@thebrookcook

I live in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island. I love garlic and baking. My hobby (and love) is to try new recipes. My favorite recipe resources include The New York Times, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, and Martha Stewart Living. Enjoy!

11 responses to “Rigatoni with Cabbage, Creme Fraiche, & Pumpernickel Bread Crumbs

  1. Such an unusual recipe Josette!
    Cabbage is supposed to be good for weight loss and full of fiber!

  2. I had no idea cabbage could be such a weight loss tool! Yes, I have seen it in the cabbage soup weight-watchers diet, but didn’t know it had added benefits beyond just eating a soup of it! Although I’m not a fan of dark breads, I can see sourdough being a great substitute! I’m marking this one down to explore, thank you!

  3. This does sound good. I’m a big fan of cabbage and if you can find a way to combine it with the great love of my life, pasta, I’m all for it. 🙂

  4. Oh this sounds so interesting; I’ve never had cabbage and pasta together, unless you count Asian salads. And the addition of breadcrumbs, bacon, and cream makes it sound so German. I like the idea of cabbage salad diet too; I usually make sauerkraut when I buy a large cabbage head, but eating a little every day would take care of the issue of “what to do with a huge cabbage in under a week” quite as efficiently.

  5. I’m loving the sound of this recipe! Such wonderful flavors all together must be delicious – I’m pinning this to try this winter! 🙂

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