Pasta with Cabbage, Sage and Breadcrumbs

Well, anchovy and garlic too, plus a little parmesan at the end but it’s not such a snappy title that way. Big Man came home from one of his little excursions with a beautiful cabbage. I think in England they are called Spring cabbages, the lighter green ones with very tight leaves.

Pasta With Cabbage & Breadcrumbs (1)

We enjoy it simply shredded and cooked for a few moments until wilted and then served cold with vinaigrette. But this was a whole lot of cabbage and I needed to find other ways to use it. I remembered a lovely Italian pasta dish made with Cavolo Nero (Tuscan Kale) and decided to make something similar.

If you prepare everything before you start cooking it’s quick to pull together, you just need to work methodically and in the time it takes for your pasta to cook (well, dried pasta at least) you’ll have a beautiful meal ready to take to the table.

Ingredients (per person, just multiply per number of diners but don’t worry about being too exact)

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • About 100g finely shredded cabbage
  • About 50g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2-4 tinned anchovies (omit for a vegetarian version)
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Your choice of pasta

Start by putting the water for the pasta on to boil and then blanching the shredded cabbage until it wilts. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and drain, add your pasta to the water and, as long as you have your other ingredients prepared, you can get on with pulling the rest of the dish together.

Heat two thirds of the oil and when it is very hot drop the sage leaves in and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Pasta With Cabbage & Breadcrumbs (4)

Now add your fresh breadcrumbs and with the oil still on high, move them around in the pan (it helps to use a deep frying pan or wok for this dish) until they start to turn golden. Remove from the pan and put them onto a flat dish to cool slightly and crisp up.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and turn the heat down slightly before adding the garlic and anchovies. When the anchovies have “melted” (this won’t take long at all, a minute or so) add the cabbage and turn the heat back up to high. Stir fry for a couple of minutes (you can allow the edges to brown a little if you like) then add most of the breadcrumbs, reserving some to sprinkle over the top of the dish.

Drain the pasta and mix it in with the cabbage. It helps to add a tablespoon or two of the cooking liquid, but don’t overdo it.

Sprinkle over the remaining breadcrumbs and crispy sage leaves and serve with plenty of parmesan. Buon appetito!

Big Man and I are heading west on Saturday with the pups for a week in Portugal, the Eastern Algarve to be precise. I’ll try to post once more before we head off but it’s turning into one of those weeks. I know we won’t have internet coverage where we’re staying, but fingers crossed that I’ll be able to get online at some point. So…if I go quiet for a while it’s because I’m eating seafood or bacalao and sipping Portuguese wines whilst watching the sea. I’m sure you’ll understand!

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49 thoughts on “Pasta with Cabbage, Sage and Breadcrumbs

    1. Thanks MD! We’re really looking forward to it. Am currently turning the house upside down looking for the charger for my little camera so that I can take bar and restaurant snaps!

  1. Have a wonderful holiday first and foremost!! And lift a glass of vino for me also – am not very knowledgeable about Portuguese wines! Love your pasta dish: beautiful, tasty and filling for a meatless meal! Am laughing: I belong to a number of invitational panels here – one of them happens to be Nestle’s ! Well, we have just been quite seriously asked our opinion as to whether pasta with sauce was originally Italian or Australian? [I kid you not!!!] And I kid you not that, very tongue in cheek, I ‘innocently’ asked ‘what about all the Chinese and Japanses noodle dishes’!!! [Actually someone before me had thought of that also, darn it 😀 !

    1. Thank you for your good wishes Eha! When I was little, my dad always said that he was convinced that pasta came originally from China … who knows! And they also have lots of rice there…where did it start…chickens and eggs methinks! The idea of pasta with sauce….mmm, well I’ll have to go for Italy (or China, or Japan) over Oz on that one!

  2. Is it too early for me to grab a bottle of wine and we can share this? It’s never too early for me for good food. have fun in Portugal. I haven’t been there yet so I want a full report 🙂

    1. Never too early for a glass of wine (and here in Spain the old boys and Big Man start the day with a carajillo of coffee which is coffee with a “nip” of something in it and a little glass of anis or a liqueur to set them up for the day!). We love Portugal, luckily the south coast is only 4 hour drive away (well, the bit nearest the border to Spain is from us) and Lisbon is about 6 hours away by car.

  3. Love the look of this! I’m going to try it with one of the sweetheart or ‘pointy’ cabbages we have over here xx

  4. Cabbages don’t last long around here :). I make spring rolls with them. Half a HUGE cabbage shredded with about 400g grated carrot, anything else you want to add (bean sprouts etc.) and lots of Asian sauces (preferably thick ones like oyster sauce and Thai chilli sauce) all mixed together with an egg or two to bind the filling and rolled up in spring roll wrapper sleeping bags. We bake them in the oven after brushing them with olive oil. Delish! I also love cabbage raw and even eat the stalk. No waste here. Your recipe looks scrumptious and Steve will eat cabbage so I am going to try it on him 🙂

    1. Those sound so good. I make stuffed cabbage leaves too but a wintery version. Do you eat eggs? Love the idea of the thai chili sauce, I make a batch most weeks as I dollop it over most things!

  5. This sounds like a great dish, Tanya. I only know of one other pasta & cabbage dish, pizzoccheri, and I liked the combo.This one has the added benefit of anchovies, which, like bacon, are a big plus in any dish. Glad to hear you and Big Man are getting away for a holiday. Enjoy yourselves. Buon viaggio!

    1. Aha, that’s the one I was thinking of! Bacon and anchovies are such good extras for dishes like this, they really life the flavour. And now I need to start thinking about packing as the night before we leave we have a local fiesta to go to, so we’ll come home ofr a few hours sleep then hit the road…so I need to get organised!

  6. Hope you have/had a great vacation! “eating seafood or bacalao and sipping Portuguese wines whilst watching the sea” sounds as delicious as this recipe… mmmmm! to both!

  7. Enjoy your trip Chica – a place with no internet… sounds like a great opportunity to “unplug” :).

    Tasty looking dish – I saw fresh sage on sale here the other day for the first time in… ever I think. Couldn’t believe it! 😀

      1. You’d think, but two tries of growing it, resulting in dead plants within mere weeks has put me off herb gardening from a balcony from a while 😀

  8. Ha of course we understand………. 🙂
    I love Big Man’s mini excursions – you never know what he’ll come back with
    And I’m loving this recipe, I’ve only recently discovered pasta+breadcrumbs… yes I’m slow on the uptake !

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