Sunday, December 5, 2010

Caraway Cabbage with Pasta

If you’re looking for a quick and delicious meal that also happens to be pretty darn healthy, have I got something for you.

This is an Eastern European-style dish that my mom made pretty frequently when we were growing up. I used to love standing at the stove taking in the smell of onions sautéing in butter. And then, along with the shredded cabbage, she’d add the secret ingredient: caraway seeds. Don't even think about making this dish without them. It would be like rye bread without its signature flavor - preposterous! Besides, if my mom found a way to get kids to happily devour cabbage, I wouldn’t mess with a good thing.

From start to finish this only takes about 15 minutes. I’m not normally a pusher of 20 minute meals – that niche has been filled to capacity – but it’s nice to have a few quick dishes in your arsenal for busy nights.

I like to eat my Caraway Cabbage with Pasta on its own but it also tastes fabulous topped with Parmesan cheese or a dollop of sour cream. And, if you need meat or are serving this as a main course, a little crispy pancetta or bacon would push this into the ridiculous category (just cook 4 ounces of diced bacon/pancetta in a skillet over medium heat until crisp; remove, continue with the recipe as written and then add it back in at the end along with the pasta).

I can’t believe it took me this long to make such a beloved childhood dish. Glad it’s back. 

Caraway Cabbage with Pasta
A simple and very satisfying peasant dish. It easily stands on its own but would accompany a braised brisket or pan seared pork chop beautifully. Leftovers taste great with a fried egg on top.

Serves 4 as a side dish, 2-3 as a main course

3 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 small head green cabbage, thinly shredded (5-6 cups total)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
8 ounces dry pasta (my mom always used bowtie but any shape will do)

Set a large pot of salted water on to boil.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the shredded cabbage, a few good pinches of salt, freshly ground black pepper and the caraway seeds. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender, 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the salted water until al dente; drain. When the cabbage is tender, add the cooked pasta and toss well. Taste for salt and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve and watch it disappear.


jana said...

Hi Kate! I was drawn to the "quick meal" appeal of this recipe AND the part about leaning over the stove to smell the butter and onions when you were little. Well, what was the first thing that happened as I started cooking tonight? Jasmine's head shot up from her homework at the kitchen table and said, "Something smells REALLY good right now! " She proceeded to bee-line for the stovetop and bury her nose in the sautéing onions! I was thrilled!

Anonymous said...

making it right now! completely forgot about mom's dish. sarah

jana said...

Okay, and now I just had the left overs with a fried egg!!! Dee-LISH! Yumm yumm yumm yumm!!! Thanks Kate...oh, and say hi to my cousin for me, would ya ;-)

NudeFood said...

Jana, thanks for sharing that. I can't believe Jasmine is old enough to have homework but I guess it's been a few years since we've seen her. So glad you liked the cabbage pasta (so good with an egg on top). Your cousin is sitting next to me and says "west coast best coast, east coast least coast." Whatever, we're both from the east coast...

Sarah! Didn't this bring back memories?

Jen said...

mmmmm, yummy Kate! We just had this for dinner and the whole family thoroughly enjoyed it. Added the pancetta, which was delicious! I will be adding this to my weeknight go to dinners.

Tamara said...

This sounds great for a weekend breakfast dish. I'll try it and let you know!