paprika (preferably half-sharp, or a combination to taste of sweet and hot varieties--you want it to have a little zip)
(each) fennel and caraway seeds, ground (toast whole seeds briefly in a dry skillet if grinding your own)
cremini mushrooms, chopped
garlic cloves, finely chopped (remove any green shoots first)
cabbage, shredded (1/2 a medium head; I used red, but I think any variety would be fine)
dry white wine
heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks (Thanks, nicolecooks!)
grated parmigiano, plus extra for serving
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
In This Recipe
Heat the broth in a saucepan. Cover and keep warm.
Set the lardons in a large skillet, saute pan, or saucier over medium-high heat and render the fat. Lower the heat to medium and add 2 tbsp butter to the pan. When it ceases foaming, add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute a minute or two. Remove the pan from heat and add the paprika and a splash of cold water, stirring rapidly to prevent scorching, about one minute. Return the pan to heat and stir in the fennel, caraway, marjoram, and thyme. Add the mushrooms and raise the heat back to medium-high. Saute until the mushrooms give up their liquid and start to brown.
Return the heat to moderate, add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then stir in the gemelli, tossing to coat. Toast about two minutes, then add the cabbage, allowing it to cook down briefly, before adding the wine. Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring, until the wine has almost all evaporated. Return the heat to medium, add about a cup of the warmed broth and cook, stirring constantly, until the broth is almost all absorbed. Continue in this manner, adding broth by the ladleful, until the gemelli is tender. This should require somewhere between 4 and 5 cups of broth.
When the last addition of broth is almost absorbed, cut in the remaining tbsp of butter and the heavy cream and cook, stirring, a minute or two. Off heat, stir in the parmigiano. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with a sprinkling of the remaining cheese.