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We're celebrating Meatless Mondays with balanced, delicious meal plans. We hope you'll join us -- whether you're vegetarian all the time or just here and there.
Today: A weeknight meal with the potential to become an impromptu dinner party.
The leaves are slipping off the trees, the sun is setting before dinnertime, and you've moved your sweaters out of storage. All of that is reason enough to dig into a big, buttery bowl of pasta and sip on a belly-warming cocktail.
This menu is comfort food at its finest -- perfect for eating on the sofa while watching your favorite movie -- but it's also flexible enough for an impromptu weeknight dinner party. If it's getting late and you can't get your neighbors to go home, just make the whole box of pasta and send someone out to get another case of ginger beer. Stir the cocktails before you start cooking and you won't hear a peep from your guests 'til dinner's ready.
Serves 2 to 3, but easily doubled
1/2 head cabbage
1 sprig thyme
15 fresh sage leaves
2 1/2 ounces unsalted walnuts
We're betting you have salt, butter, olive oil, and half a box of pasta in your kitchen. If not, add those to the list, too.
1. Fill as many glasses as there are drinkers with ice, then fill 1/3 of the way with rum. Top with ginger beer and a squeeze of lime.
2. De-core the cabbage and slice into 2 or 3 wedges. Blanch in a covered pot of boiling, salted water for 3 minutes, then shock in an ice bath. Reserve blanching water. Dry the cooled cabbage and cut into 1-inch pieces.
3. Cook the cabbage in a single layer in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. After 5 minutes on each side, the cabbage should be fragrant and caramelized.
4. While the cabbage is browning, toast the walnuts in a small skillet, then add a teaspoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
5. Bring blanching water to a boil and use it to cook your pasta until al dente.
6. Return to the caramelized cabbage and add 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped. After a minute add the thyme and 5 of the sage leaves, cut into thin shreds. Add a ladleful of pasta water to the pan, lower heat, and simmer.
7. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet and add 10 whole sage leaves. After about 5 minutes, the sage leaves will be dark and crisp. Drain on a paper towel and cook the butter until brown, another minute.
8. Add the al dente pasta to the cabbage. Raise heat to medium and stir until pasta is cooked and coated in the cabbage sauce. Spoon into bowls, then add the brown butter, salted nuts, crispy sage leaves, and shredded Parmesan. Refill your dark 'n stormy, tear off a chunk of bread, and dig in.
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