Comfort Food

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

March 22, 2017

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.

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

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.

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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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Top Comment:
“I'm totally down with the idea of the noodle treatment: my favorite zucchini noodle recipe has them cooked in butter w/ anchovies, topped with bread crumbs, maybe a little torn fresh's so good.”
— Laura G.

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.

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

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Bonny March 28, 2017
Most delicious. Made it last night. This is a winner.
Jordan March 25, 2017
I'd suggest clarifying the recipe by saying in step 1 that you should use half the butter.
I turned this into a sort of carbonara by adding bacon, milk and eggs--It was great, but I still have some tweaks to improve it next time (it needs to be creamier.....).
Sarah J. March 27, 2017
Thanks for that—I fixed it! And let me know what you come up with re: a creamier dish—I'd love to know!
Melissa March 22, 2017
These sound great! I think I will miss a good cabbage roll casserole. Great comfort food!
Laura G. March 22, 2017
YESSS, this sounds amazing. And I have everything in the fridge!
I'm totally down with the idea of the noodle treatment: my favorite zucchini noodle recipe has them cooked in butter w/ anchovies, topped with bread crumbs, maybe a little torn fresh's so good.
Peter H. March 22, 2017
Come on, you didn't consider "caboodle" for these? (As in, "the whole kit and caboodle") :p But they're delicious, whatever you call them.
Alice March 26, 2017
My vote for caboodle!
Sarah J. March 27, 2017
Allison R. March 22, 2017
Cabbage is the most criminally underrated vegetable on earth. I could eat it every day.
Sarah J. March 22, 2017
I completely and totally agree. I have tried that though (it's so cheap! it's so plentiful!) and my digestive system didn't *love* the results. ;)
Alexandra S. March 22, 2017