Stuffed Cabbage, Italian Style

cooked cabbage

It’s March, and you’re going to see lots of cabbage in the supermarkets. I encourage you to pick up a large head and try my twist on stuffed cabbage Italian style. This is not to say that the traditional version isn’t any good, this is just my Italian take on it.

The concept is simple, the cabbage is wilted and wrapped around all the makings of your favorite Italian meatball and the sauce is a delicious marinara.

fresh cabbage

The cabbage I used here was your typical green cabbage, I chose a big head with lots of leaves. Savoy cabbage is another perfect variety to use if you can find one that is on the larger size.

The hardest thing about making stuffed cabbage is blanching the leaves off and to do this you’ll need a big pot of boiling water going. Core the end of the cabbage and submerge the whole thing into the boiling pot and place a cover on top.

After a few minutes remove the cover and peel off as many leaves as you can and drain on paper towels. Repeat the whole process until you have the number of leaves you want. The bigger the cabbage, the more leaves you’ll have.

After the leaves cool down place one at a time on a cutting board, pat dry and just cut out that center core so it’s easier to fold them. Then form the shape of a meatball using about 1/2  cup of meat mixture tucking the cabbage all around the sides of the meatball creating a round shape instead of the traditional log shape.

ground beef mixture

Here’s where you can really get creative! You can use your own family favorite meatball recipe or do a little improvising like I did with the ingredients above. I used 2 pounds of ground beef for this recipe, it was an 80/20 mix but ground sirloin works great as well as ground pork and turkey. Because of my large head of cabbage I was able to yield 14 rolls in total.

This post is meant to inspire you with the ingredients I used, or if you like, change things up with some of your favorites. For instance, using small chunks of mozzarella instead of the provolone cheese, or eliminate the cooked rice for breadcrumbs or even riced cauliflower. I always like to add a generous amount of grated pecorino, a couple of tablespoons of marinara, a good handful of fresh parsley and enough garlic so you can really taste it, you get the picture, flavor it up good!

cabbage rolls

Tuck your wilted cabbage all around your meatball and then place them seam side down in a pool of marinara.

sauced cabbage rolls

Spoon additional marinara ( homemade or a good quality store bought) on top of each roll, sprinkle pecorino on top and a nice drizzle of olive oil all over.

Cover your baking dish completely with foil and place into a pre-heated 360 degree oven for around 40 minutes. Uncover and test to see if a tip of a knife goes though easily.

Italian style cabbage

When finished cooking let it rest for a few minutes then garnish with parsley or basil and enjoy!

cabbage rolls

I hope you’ve been inspired to make my Italian style version of stuffed cabbage!

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Winter Panzanella Salad With Roasted Vegetables

veggie panzanella

A panzanella salad traditionally is made in summertime with fresh tomatoes and bread, but today I’m featuring a winter version of a panzanella salad. I promise you will love it and you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to make.

Go take a look inside your fridge and see what veggies you have in there, any combination would work, this is truly a freeform type of recipe.

Below is exactly what I had in my fridge.

uncooked veggies

I had a mix of broccoli, carrots, onion, peppers, brussel sprouts, sugar snap peas and cauliflower. If I had squash I would have added that, whatever you have will work.

Don’t be afraid to fill a whole sheet pan full of your favorite veggies like I did. Then drizzle them all over with olive oil, add salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees until golden, with still a little bite. Make sure you don’t over cook them, you don’t want mushy vegetables here.

homemade croutons

Another important component to this salad is homemade croutons. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make your own, store bought ones do not compare.

I used a stale hunk of ciabatta for mine but any crusty bread would do. Just chunk it up, place on a baking sheet, drizzle and toss them with a generous amount of olive oil, pepper and I had a rosemary salt that I added.

You’re going to put those bread cubes into a 400 degree oven until they get golden and crispy, they don’t take too long so keep watching and tossing them.

vinagrette

Then the final important elements are a homemade vinaigrette and fresh bocconcini, ( fresh mozzarella). Again I stress homemade is best, so please don’t use a bottled dressing of any kind, making your own vinaigrette is easy to do and makes a world of difference to the taste and over all deliciousness of this salad.

I will add my vinaigrette recipe below at the end of the post.

roasted veggies

After the veggies have been roasted and cooled down and the croutons and vinaigrette is made, it’s time to put this winter panzanella together.

winter panzanella

Grab a pretty bowl, add the roasted veggies, torn basil and chopped fresh parsley. Toss in your croutons and bocconcini, use as much as you want and add in a few sliced cherry tomatoes for freshness. roasted veggies

All that’s left is to spoon that vinaigrette over the top and dig in! This could serve as a lunch, side dish or if you just feel like eating a bowl of goodness!

I hope you try this winter version of a panzanella salad.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Homemade Vinaigrette
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 part white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 parts olive oil
  • a dollop of dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • a pinch of dried oregano
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients into a jar that has a lid.
  2. Shake well until it all emulsifies together.
  3. Store in the fridge when not using.

 

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Dark Chocolate Amaretto Tart with Amaretti Cookie Crust

chocolate tart

Calling all chocolate lovers! Here’s an easy dessert to make for upcoming Valentines Day, a special occasion or if you just have a wild craving for dark chocolate!

The best part about this dark chocolate tart with the almond flavor of Amaretto is that the only thing you’ll have to bake is the crust!

Speaking of the crust, it’s made with crushed amaretti cookies and butter, just like you would make a graham cracker crust but only better.

chopped chocolate

The filling is basically a mousse made of melted dark chocolate that’s folded into whipped cream and flavored with amaretto liquor. The liquor gives it a rich deep flavor, but if you want to substitute that with almond extract go ahead, you need to have that almond flavor.

amaretti cookie crust

As soon as you open up the bag of amaretti cookies that almond smell hits you right away, I promise you it will make the tart so much more amazing by using them for the crust.

dark chocolate

Grab some good quality dark chocolate to melt down and when it cools you’re going to fold it into some heavy whipped cream to create a wonderful silky mousse.

chocolate moussetart filling

Then it’s onto your baked amaretti crust and into the fridge for chilling, but the wait is worth it!

chocolate mousse tart

When chilled, garnish the top with some of the crushed amaretti cookies and toasted sliced almonds and then share a piece with someone you love!

chocolate tart slice

Enjoy!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Dark Chocolate and Amaretto Tart with Amaretti Cookie Crust
 
Satisfy your chocolate craving with this easy to make chocolate Amaretto tart.
Author:
Ingredients
  • Tart Crust
  • 1-7oz. package of amaretti cookies
  • 5 Tablespoons melted butter
  • Mousse Filling
  • 1¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Amaretto liquor or ½ to 1 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 5 oz. chopped dark chocolate, good quality
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • toasted sliced almonds for garnish
Instructions
  1. Pre heat the oven to 325F
  2. Melt butter then set aside.
  3. Pour 90% of the cookies into a food processor and process until fine crumbs, leaving the rest to crush by hand later for garnish.
  4. Pour the butter through the tube of processor until the crumbs look like wet sand.
  5. Press the crumbs into a 9" fluted tart pan.
  6. Bake the crust at 325F for 20 minutes until set, then cool completely.
  7. In a small saucepan add ¾ cup of heavy cream, when it starts to slightly simmer remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and Amaretto. Stir til the chocolate is silky smooth, then let it cool to room temperature.
  8. In a medium size bowl add the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream and powdered sugar, whip til you get stiff peaks.
  9. Gently fold in the cooled down chocolate and mix until fully incorporated.
  10. Pour filling into cooled crust and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.
  11. Right before serving garnish with toasted almonds and some of the remaining crushed amaretti cookies.
  12. ***Recipe adapted from Everyday Food***

 

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