Cabbage rolls with Italian sausage

Cabbage roll served with Parmesan, basil and cherry tomatoes

I’ve been wanting to try a cabbage roll with Italian flavors for awhile. I’ve done Asian-inspired rolls before but wanted to branch out. I love Napa cabbage and found a huge head of it at the store so it seemed like a good day to try this recipe. This recipe tastes a little like Italian wedding soup, all wrapped up. You could easily serve it in a broth or with a marinara, or even over some risotto.

Ingredients:

  • Ten to 12 leaves Napa cabbage
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage (I used turkey, but pork will do too)
  • One onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth (I use bone broth)
  • 1/2 cup Italian farro – this is optional, omit if gluten-free
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, chili flakes and garlic powder.
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning, or fresh or dried chopped herbs of your choosing.
  • Parmesan cheese and cherry tomatoes, to garnish

Directions:

Sauté the onion in a little bit of avocado oil until it is soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the turkey and chop it up into tiny pieces with the spatula, and sauté about five minutes. add the spices and herbs. Add one cup of the broth and bring it to a simmer. Add the farro and simmer about ten minutes (you may have to add a bit more liquid to get the farro to soften enough). Add the tomato paste and stir it all together, remove from heat.

Add the second cup of broth to a stock pot or large pan. Bring it to a simmer. Take the cabbage leaves (washed and prepped) and place them on top of the broth, to steam for five minutes.

Pull them out onto a cutting board, draining excess liquid, and let them cool just until you can handle them. Scoop the sausage mixture into the leaves in equal parts, roll them and secure them with a toothpick. Place them back into the pan you steamed them in and let them simmer/steam covered on low for about another ten minutes.

Top with grated Parmesan and tomatoes and enjoy!

Cabbage rolls with Italian sausage and farro

Cabbage roll served with Parmesan, basil and cherry tomatoes

I’ve been wanting to try a cabbage roll with Italian flavors for awhile. I’ve done Asian-inspired rolls before but wanted to branch out. I love Napa cabbage and found a huge head of it at the store so it seemed like a good day to try this recipe. This recipe tastes a little like Italian wedding soup, all wrapped up. You could easily serve it in a broth or with a marinara, or even over some risotto.

Ingredients:

  • Ten to 12 leaves Napa cabbage
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage (I used turkey, but pork will do too)
  • One onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth (I use bone broth)
  • 1/2 cup Italian farro
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, chili flakes and garlic powder.
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning, or fresh or dried chopped herbs of your choosing.
  • Parmesan cheese and cherry tomatoes, to garnish

Directions:

Sauté the onion in a little bit of avocado oil until it is soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the turkey and chop it up into tiny pieces with the spatula, and sauté about five minutes. add the spices and herbs. Add one cup of the broth and bring it to a simmer. Add the farro and simmer about ten minutes (you may have to add a bit more liquid to get the farro to soften enough). Add the tomato paste and stir it all together, remove from heat.

Add the second cup of broth to a stock pot or large pan. Bring it to a simmer. Take the cabbage leaves (washed and prepped) and place them on top of the broth, to steam for five minutes.

Pull them out onto a cutting board, draining excess liquid, and let them cool just until you can handle them. Scoop the sausage mixture into the leaves in equal parts, roll them and secure them with a toothpick. Place them back into the pan you steamed them in and let them simmer/steam covered on low for about another ten minutes.

Top with grated Parmesan and tomatoes and enjoy!

Easy no-breadcrumb meatballs

My family loves meatballs! But my stomach hates the hidden breadcrumbs. This recipe is a super simple, versatile version of the Italian favorite—and its gluten-free.

Ingredients (makes 15 two-inch meatballs):

  • One pound grassfed ground beef
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped herbs (I use parsley, but basil or oregano or a combo would work well)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl (I find it’s best to mix with my hands). Roll the meat mixture out into 15 balls. Bake for 25 minutes, let cool five minutes before serving. These go well with any gluten free pasta and Marcella Hazan’s simple marinara.

Tuscan peasant soup made gluten-free

My sister in law got me a copy of Marcella Hazan’s “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” for my birthday, and I’ve spent the last week reading it cover to cover. It’s an amazing cookbook, especially if you are a cookbook fangirl like I am. One recipe stuck out to me last week — the Tuscan Peasant Soup With Cabbage and Beans, or, Aquacotta. It’s the perfect anti-thanksgiving meal for when you’re tired of those leftovers and the perfect cold-weather stew. It also happens that I had mountains of the main ingredient—Savoy cabbage— in the garden just ready to harvest, along with a few other items that were ready to be picked and used. I altered this recipe pretty heavily as I didn’t have some of the ingredients available, I didn’t have three hours to simmer, and I wanted to make it gluten free (Marcella’s version is poured over a layer of bread). I also wanted to add some meat to make it a little more hearty. It turned out to be one of our favorite meals and a rare highlight of 2020. Even my husband said it’s “a real winner,” which is high praise from him!

Here is my version of this classic dish:

Ingredients (roughly six servings):

  • One onion, chopped roughly
  • 1/4 c. Avocado oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Several cups finely chopped kale
  • Four to five cups finely chopped cabbage (the more the better)
  • One large can of Italian whole, peeled tomatoes, diced and with the juice
  • About a cup of chicken bone broth (enough to cover the veggies)
  • One lb Italian-style turkey sausage
  • About a half cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • One can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Eggs, as many as the people you are serving. The original recipe called for six, I used two because I was only serving two people and keeping the rest for leftovers.
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • About a half cup of chopped fresh basil
  • Other herbs, to taste (I chopped some fresh parsley and oregano for garnish)
  • Other veggies, to taste (I added a handful of snap peas that were ready to be harvested from the garden)

In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, sauté the onion in the oil until it starts to wilt. Add the turkey sausage and break it up into tiny pieces. Add some salt, then the kale and cabbage. Stir until wilted, then add the tomatoes and the basil. Simmer for an hour on low, covered.

At the end of the simmering hour, in another saucepan, bring the lemon juice along with an inch to two inches of water to a boil. Add the eggs (poach them) when it comes to a boil. Let them poach for about 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the beans to the veggie mixture. Stir and correct for salt. Add some cracked pepper, to taste. Sprinkle about half the cheese on top of this, and leave simmering on low.

When the eggs are poached and still runny, scoop them from the sauce pan in a slotted spoon and place them on top of the vegetable and sausage dish. Add the rest of the cheese, and let them simmer another minute or so. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs (parsley and oregano worked well).

Serve each person a helping with an egg on top, preferably with a good glass of red wine.