Even though it’s officially spring the weather is always fluctuating here so it often dictates what we eat. When it’s sunny and warm my first choice is to go out and grill something, but when it’s cool, rainy and dreary there’s no doubt dinner will be inside simmering on my stove.
That’s how this cabbage dish came about. You might think of stuffed cabbage/ involtini as only a hearty winter dish filled with meat and rice, but actually this version minus the rice and some breadcrumbs was light and super delicious, perfect for a cool spring evening!
This recipe comes courtesy of Debi Mazar and her Tuscan born husband Gabriele Corcos via their cooking show, Extra Virgin, one of the few shows I watch on The Cooking Channel. The original recipe is here, I adapted it slightly.
Little bundles of ground pork seasoned with scallions, garlic, romano cheese and parsley wrapped tightly with a tender leaf of savoy cabbage simmering in a flavorful garlic and basil marinara sauce. This is good, really good!
I used a mixture of asparagus, artichoke hearts, and fava beans roasted together with olive oil and shaved garlic. FYI, Trader Joe’s has precooked frozen fava beans for a short time, I still had to peel the outer skins off but they were really good.
- 1 head savoy cabbage
- 1 pound good ground pork
- 2 eggs
- 3 scallions, sliced small
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¾ cup grated romano cheese
- 1 handful parsley, chopped
- 1 quart of homemade marinara or an outstanding store bought one for convenience,
- I make mine with crushed whole canned tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, olive oil, chopped garlic and fresh basil.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Carefully separate the best 12 leaves from your savoy cabbage
- Rinse, then add them in batches, to the boiling water for 2 minutes
- Remove leaves and quickly rinse under cold water, then pat dry
- Mix together the pork, scallions, eggs, garlic, romano cheese and parsley in a large bowl, then season with salt and pepper.
- Lay a leaf of cabbage on a cutting board, trim the thick stem at the bottom and place 2 generous tablespoons of the pork mixture in the middle.Roll up the leaf, tucking in the sides.
- Place seem side down on a plate until all leaves are completed.
- If your marinara is premade just pour some into the bottom of a heavy skillet with sides and lid.
- If you need to make your own, pour ¼ cup of olive oil on bottom of the pan add 4 or 5 cloves of chopped garlic, let it sizzle a little then pour in your 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of salt, then add in some torn fresh basil leaves.
- Place the involtini on top of the sauce, nestle them in seam side down and turn heat to a low simmer, spooning some sauce on each bundle.
- Place a lid on top and cook until meat is cooked through and cabbage is tender.
- Garnish with fresh basil and grated romano cheese.