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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Reuben Wraps

reuben wraps

If you wind up having leftover corned beef from your St. Patricks Day dinner here’s a fun way to repurpose some of the extra you might have, make reuben wraps!

These delicious reuben wraps have all the flavors of a hearty reuben sandwich, corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing for dipping and cabbage leaves to wrap it all up in.

This is perfect to serve for lunch or light dinner, which is what I did.

reuben ingredients

All you need to do is get a pot of water boiling together then dip your cabbage leaves in there for just 30 seconds, remove with tongs and lay them on a kitchen towel to dry off. I bought a bag of sauerkraut and a bottle of Russian dressing, you could make your own dressing if you prefer.

reuben wrap

Then it’s like layering a burrito, first the cabbage leaf, then the Swiss cheese, one or two slices, a few slices of the corned beef and then top it with a sprinkling of sauerkraut.

reuben wrap

Then just roll it up burrito style, how easy is that!

reuben wraps

Grab a wrap and then use the Russian dressing for dipping, so delish! Which reminds me, this recipe comes courtesy of delish, I saw this on one of their quick video’s and couldn’t wait to make it, these reuben wraps did not disappoint!

reuben wraps

This may not be “traditional” but I promise you that you won’t miss out on a bit of flavor, and besides they’re fun to eat!

Follow prouditaliancook on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week!

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Stuffed Cabbage with Basil White Wine Cream Sauce

I told you I’ve been stuffing things! Stuffed cabbage is something I make a few times over the fall and winter season, ultimate comfort food, warm and satisfying little bundles filled with meat, cheese, vegetables and herbs usually covered in a light tomato sauce but this time I wanted to change it up and replace it with and a basil white wine sauce. The wine sauce definitely elevated this dish to a different level!

My cabbage of choice is always savoy, I love the look of it’s lacy patterned veins and crinkled leaves, it tastes great and cooks up perfectly, of course other cabbage would work just as well.
For this recipe I used one HUGE cabbage and it made 15 rolls.
Preparing the Cabbage
Core as much of the cabbage possible before the actual steaming. Do not remove the outer leaves. Steam the whole cabbage in a large pot with approximately three inches of water. As the leaves soften, remove them one at a time to a large platter. Steaming the whole cabbage should take about thirty minutes. Cabbage leaves should be softened but not mushy. When cabbage has cooled enough to handle, use a paring knife and pare the thick base of the cabbage leaf. Set aside the tough outer leaves of the cabbage.

Stuffing Mixture

1lb. of ground turkey, I like to brown mine up a little beforehand
1/2 cup grated asiago cheese
1/4 cup of grated parmesan or romano cheese
1/2 chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 diced red pepper
10 oz of cooked brown rice or cauliflower rice
Salt and pepper
Grated lemon zest, fresh parsley and basil

 

Basil White Wine Cream Sauce
Saute 2 shallots in 1 tablespoon of butter, deglaze with a healthy splash of white wine, then add to that 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth and equal amounts of cream and whisk. Snip fresh basil into the sauce and let it reduce down until thickened, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Note: If cream is not your thing, you can make a bechamel with lowfat milk instead, but don’t forget the wine!
Stuff each cabbage leaf and then fold them over like a burrito, place rolls seam side down in a baking dish that has some chicken broth on the bottom and a small amount of the sauce, drizzle cabbage rolls with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika, grated parmesan, salt and pepper. Cover loosely with foil and bake around 45 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

When finished baking place your cabbage rolls into a pool of sauce spooning some over the top.
The majority of the sauce is used as a finishing sauce because I found that if you pour it all over and then bake it, during the baking process it tends to break down and you sure don’t want to miss out on swiping each bite into that creamy luscious sauce now do you?
Enjoy and Buon Appetito!
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