Stuffed Cabbage Cake

stuffed cabbage cake I have to say right off the bat that this post was solely inspired by a photo I saw in the beautiful new cookbook by Mimi Thorisson, A Kitchen In France. In fact she posted the recipe recently on her blog, the name she calls it is, Chou Farci.

Instead of individual rolls of stuffed cabbage like most of us are use to seeing, her recipe was made and molded into a cake-like form by building layers of meat and vegetable filling and then wrapping it all into a beautiful little package of lacy savoy cabbage leaves.

After reading her recipe, which I’m sure is  quite delicious, I thought it would be fun to make my Italian style version, just the way I make my own stuffed cabbage.

unmolding stuffed cabbage cake You’ll need a round, deep souffle or casserole dish because you’re going to layer the bottom and sides with the cabbage leaves as well as each layer of filling and the top. After it’s baked together you let it rest a bit, then invert it onto a serving plate.

unmolded stuffed cabbage cake All the filling stays neatly contained inside the wrapped cabbage leaves. It looks like there’s a cute little tree on top doesn’t it?

stuffed cabbage cake But I just couldn’t keep it unadorned, so I decided to embellish it with warm marinara and freshly grated parmesan cheese, just like frosting on a cake!

stuffed cabbage cake This way of presenting stuffed cabbage takes a simple meal and elevates it to something very special. You can try Mimi’s version, or use a filling that your own family would like, the sky’s the limit!  Just follow the directions for the cabbage layout and you’re good to go.

Here’s my Italian style version.

Stuffed Cabbage Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 head of savoy cabbage, it has pretty lacy leaves
  • 1 1/2 pound of good quality ground beef or turkey
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup of grated romano or parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of marinara sauce plus extra for topping mold and plating
  • 1 cup of cooked rice
  • 1 egg
  • olive oil
  • fresh chopped basil and parsley, a small bunch of each
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Core and separate the leaves from the savoy cabbage, then cook them in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain, pat dry and set aside.
  2. Grease the bottom and sides of a deep souffle type dish and then arrange the prettiest and largest leaf on the bottom. Place another leaf on top of that and up the sides of the dish all around.
  3. In a large saute pan cook your meat until you see no pink, if it needs to be drained of added grease do so and set aside.
  4. Add olive oil to the pan and cook the onions, carrots, garlic and diced red pepper until soft, then toss it all together with the cooked meat.
  5. Add the grated cheese, marinara and fresh herbs, toss til well coated, let it cool then toss in the egg.
  6. Put your first layer down, about 1/2 inch then layer a cabbage leaf on top. Repeat until you reach the top or run out of filling.
  7. Finish with cabbage on top making sure to tuck it in the dish all around.
  8. Drizzle the top with olive oil, salt and pepper and a sprinkling of romano cheese all over.
  9. Bake at 350 for around 40 minutes.
  10. Let it rest then invert a serving plate over the souffle dish, then flip it over.
  11. Cut into slices and serve with additional warmed marinara and more grated cheese.
http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2014/11/stuffed-cabbage-cake.html

 

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Big and Bold Meatball

giant meatballs Here’s a fun way to eat your favorite meatball, make it giant sized, nestle it in a pool of homemade marinara, top it with fresh ricotta, basil and olive oil, then just make sure you have some crispy, crunchy bread to soak up all that sauce. It’s a meal in itself and it’s so good!

I got this idea from the very popular meatball that’s on the menu at Siena Tavern in Chicago, I went there recently with a friend, we shared the jumbo sized meatball and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.

They make theirs with wagyu beef but honestly as we were eating it we both agreed you don’t need to use pricey wagyu beef at all because it’s the combination of all the different flavors that get melded together that makes it so amazing.

meatball ingredients So for my version I just picked up some good quality ground beef from my reputable butcher, it was 85% lean and 15% fat.  You could do a mixture of meats if you like but I wanted to stick strictly with beef to stay close to the flavor profile that we had in the restaurant.

The rest of the ingredients are exactly how I make my own meatballs, I always use grated romano cheese, dry and wet bread breadcrumbs, sauteed onion and garlic, fresh parsley, eggs, salt and pepper.

making giant meatballs For one pound of meat I made three meatballs, I feel anything bigger than that is overkill, this was perfect for individual servings.

You’ll want to form your meatballs then bake them on parchment until they set as shown in the picture on the right, about 20 minutes or so.

making giant meatballs Then drench them in some good homemade marinara sauce topped with romano, then back into the oven until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 160.

giant meatball When taken out of the oven drench them with more warmed sauce, don’t be shy, add a healthy dollop of fresh ricotta, right on top, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh basil and  more romano, then immediately dig in!

giant meatball

 

But don’t forget that warmed crunchy bread it’s a MUST!

I used sliced ciabattta that I drizzled with olive oil and stuck under the broiler until  nice and golden, a match made in meatball heaven!

Big and Bold Meatball

Ingredients

  • 1 lb, quality ground beef,85% lean 15% fat
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 hunk of day old Italian bread moistened with water or milk and squeezed out
  • 1/3 cup or so of dry plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of grated pecorino romano
  • salt and pepper
  • homemade marinara sauce
  • fresh ricotta
  • fresh basil for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a small pan add olive oil and saute onions and garlic until soft, let it cool
  2. Place all the ingredients into a bow, the meat, eggs, cheese, bread, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, onions and garlic.
  3. Mix well and form 3 meatballs, they'll look about the size of a tennis ball.
  4. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and cook them until set at 375 for around 20 minutes or so.
  5. Remove and place meatballs into their own individual baking dish.
  6. Drench with sauce and top with romano cheese and finish baking in the oven at 375 until internal temp reaches 160.
  7. Add a generous amount of additional warmed sauce, a dollop of fresh ricotta on top, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of romano and some fresh chopped basil.
  8. I highly recommend sliced ciabatta bread, drizzled with olive oil and placed under the broiler or in a 400 degree oven until nice and golden to accompany your meatball.
http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2014/11/big-bold-meatball.html

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It’s Paella Time Again….My Way

vegetable paella This is not the first time I’ve made and posted a vegetable paella here, I think it’s been about a year and a half since I made my  first one, but I just love making them because you can be as creative as you want with all sorts of vegetables, especially what is currently in season right now.

The rice is your blank canvas, so everything you place on top of it just makes the whole dish come alive!

vegetable paella ingredients This was not a planned recipe what so ever, these were the actual veggies that I had in my fridge the other day, so before they went bad I decided to roast them all, which I do quite often.

Roasting vegetables dramatically enhance their flavor, It’s a simple method where the vegetables are tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper then placed in a 425 degree oven and roasted until nicely golden and tender.

I usually have a few rimmed baking sheets going at the same time because I like to roast the vegetables individually according to their kind instead of mixing them all together. As you can see I had quite a variety!

I used red pepper, broccolini, yellow squash, zucchini, leeks, butternut squash, baby thin carrots, fennel, yellow and white cauliflower and those cute little enoki mushrooms. I also added roasted cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of frozen peas.

The point is you can make it your own with whatever vegetables you have on hand, don’t be afraid, anything will work. The more color the better, just play around with it and have fun, and besides, eating more color brings many health benefits to us, and that’s a good thing!

vegetable paella  The instructions for paella and starting the rice can be found here in my previous post, just change out the veggies and make it your own, of course mine is not so traditional but made with an Italian flare.

It’s a one pan meal you can pull together during the week,( especially if you roast your vegetables ahead of time) or special enough to serve to your guests at a dinner  party. Any leftovers you might have taste equally as good the next day!

roasted vegetable soup with chicken and beans I guarantee you’ll have extra roasted veggies left over so why not make a hearty minestrone with them like I did.  I mixed homemade broth with a good boxed broth, simmered it for a while with a few parmesan rinds ( or grated cheese) that I always keep in my freezer plus a can of cannellini beans, some kale, leftover chicken if you have it and cooked pasta if you like.  When the broth is nice and cheesy  place some of those leftover veggies into a bowl and ladle the broth right on top. So good, and so good for you!

 

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