Spring is really arriving here in the Netherlands, but on some days it is still a bit chilly and perfect for a hearty pasta dish with the last of the season’s savoy cabbage. This humble pasta dish with cabbage and sausage is taken to the next level by adding some vinegar and some butter, which marry the individual flavors into one delicious new flavor. It takes a bit of time to cut the tough stalks out of the cabbage and to cook it slowly until it becomes tender, but it is worth it. The quality of the sausage is what will make or break this dish. Here’s what I did…
For 2 servings
200 grams (7 oz) short pasta such as penne
1 small savoy cabbage, about 400 grams (.9 lbs) of net weight after cleaning
225 grams (1/2 lb) sweet Italian sausage meat, taken out the casings and chopped
1 onion, minced
a handful of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
2 Tbsp good quality white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove the outermost leaves of the cabbage and discard. Break off the leaves of the cabbage one by one, and cut out the tough central stem. Cut the cabbage into ribbons. Wash them in cold water if necessary.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan. Add a minced onion, season with salt, and stir over medium heat until the onion is soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
Add 225 grams of Italian sausage meat.
Stir over medium heat until the sausage has lost its raw color and is start to brown and sizzle just a little.
Now add the cleaned cabbage, and season with a bit of salt.
Stir over medium heat until the cabbage and sausage are mixed and the cabbage is starting to wilt.
Add 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, and stir.
Cover and lower the heat.
Cook over low heat, stirring now and then, until the cabbage is tender but firm to the bite, 30 to 60 minutes. Add a bit of water (or pasta cooking water) to the pan if it becomes too dry.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. About 10 minutes before the cabbage is ready, add salt and the pasta. Cook for the time indicated on the package for al dente.
When the pasta is al dente, drain, but reserve some of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the cabbage together with a handful of freshly grated parmigiano and a tablespoon of butter, cut into smaller pieces. Add about 2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta cooking water.
Stir until well mixed and the butter has melted. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve at once on preheated plates, sprinkled with some more parmigiano.