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Cabbage e Pepe is as Close to a Bowl of Buttered Noodles as Vegetables Get

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Vegetables are not noodles, and any that claim to be are lying.

But that is not to say that vegetables given "the noodle treatment"* cannot be excellent in their own right.

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* I very much hope that the next health and wellness trend will involve humans receiving something named the "noodle treatment."
Cabbage e Pepe
Cabbage e Pepe

Take cabbage, for example. Shaved into long, thin strands and sweated in a covered pot, cabbage becomes as luxurious as a bowl of buttered noodles. Of course, it helps to cook said cabbage in actual butter, and to add a pile of Parmesan at the end and stir furiously, thereby enrobing each cabbage noodle (coodle?) in its creamy saltiness. Use a pair of tongs to twirl the cabbage onto a plate, where the pieces will tangle and twist just like the real noodles they aren't.

This is cabbage wearing a silk nightie, reclining on a chaise lounge. That's the level of luxurious comfort we're talking.

Photo by Julia Gartland

Cabbage e pepe is itself a simplified, Savoy cabbage–centric version of Brussels Sprouts and Leeks Cacio e Pepe, from Jessica Koslow, chef-owner of Sqirl and author of Everything I Want to Eat.

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Jessica adds 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds, for color, crunch, and slight bitterness; you could go ahead and incorporate them here, too, or toss a pinch red pepper flakes into hot olive oil, then add torn bread (or even sunflower seeds), and fry until crunchy and golden.

Of course, at this point, you could add real al dente noodles—spaghetti or linguine or bucatini—to the cabbage pot, and go about co-mingling the true pasta with its imitators.

Both might be better for it.

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Cabbage e Pepe

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Serves 4 to 6
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 leek, tough outer leaves removed, sliced thinly into half-moons, and rinsed thoroughly
  • 8 cups (packed) thinly shredded Savoy cabbage (620 grams)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, plus more to taste

What cabbage dish will you miss the most once we're in full-swing spring? Tell us in the comments below.