Cabbage is my favorite vegetable -- hopefully I'm not alone! The creamy cabbage is laced with salty pancetta and earthy caraway seeds; it almost melts in your mouth. I adapted this recipe from a pasta dish in one of my favorite cookbooks, Domenica Marchetti's "The Glorious Pasta of Italy" (recipe: Whole Wheat Fettucine with Savoy Cabbage, Cream, and Caraway Seeds). Domenica uses the creamy cabbage as a sauce for whole wheat pasta. But the cabbage portion is so delicious it can stand on its own, so I've adapted here for the perfect cold weather side dish. —Shannon Cummings Morris
Test Kitchen Notes
This dish is comforting and delicious thanks to tiny tidbits of salty pancetta and smooth, sweet onions. The caraway seeds add crunch, depth, and warmth. I used a new cabbage from our farmers market -- a flat, spaceship-shaped variety that lives up to its name: Tender Sweet. Quick and easy to make with little hands-on time, this dish will find its way to my table more often than just during holidays through our long, cold New England winters. In fact, it's on my breakfast plate right now -- gotta go! —jmwh
extra-virgin olive oil
medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds
savoy cabbage (about one small to medium head), halved, cored, and finely shredded
Heat a dutch oven or large, deep frying pan with a lid over medium heat. Add pancetta and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until the fat renders and pancetta just starts to crisp.
If your pancetta is on the lean side, add about a 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add chopped onion and caraway seeds and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until onion is translucent.
Add half of the shredded cabbage to the pan along with 1/2 cup of the broth, the salt, and a couple grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage wilts by half. Add remaining cabbage and broth to pan; stir. Cook for another minute, stirring every 20 seconds or so, until cabbage begins to wilt.
Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes, removing the lid to stir once, until the cabbage is tender but still slightly crunchy.
Taste, and add more salt and/or pepper if necessary. Stir in cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened. Top with parmesan cheese, if using. Serve immediately.