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
- In a food processor, pulse the bread until coarse crumbs form. In a skillet, melt the butter in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- Add the breadcrumbs and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 minutes. Season with salt.
- 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.
- 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.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
- Toss the pasta with the cabbage.
- Stir in the crème fraîche, the 1/2 cup of cheese and, if necessary, the reserved pasta water; season with salt and black pepper.
- 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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