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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Italian Meatloaf

Italian meatloaf

This is my version of Italian meatloaf, it’s rich and meaty, bursting with flavors of garlic, asiago, herbs and pecorino cheese and it has a tasty red pepper sauce infusing the inside as well as the outside.

Italian meatloaf

What can I say, meatloaf is homey, classic comfort food. This Italian meatloaf is something I make during the colder months. I like eating this with a big Italian salad or maybe roasted potatoes and sometimes the classic mashed, you can’t go wrong with either.

Italian meatloaf

You can slather the top with a red pepper sauce like store bought or homemade, or even just as good a chunky marinara. You’re then going to finish it off with some fresh mozzarella which you’ll stick on at the end for a few minutes just until it starts to melt and ooze out.

You can use whatever ground meat mixture you like, I used all ground beef in mine.

Italian meatloaf

Not only is this delicious for dinner but the next day you can slice it up for sandwiches with some good bread and crunchy lettuce.

red pepper sauce

FYI, If you’re lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s near you, sometimes I cheat and buy this fabulous spread, it’s filled with red peppers, a bit of garlic and eggplant and it’s so delicious smeared all over the meatloaf as it bakes, and so convenient!

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Italian Meatloaf
 
Good old-fashioned meatloaf with an Italian twist
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. ground beef or ground meat of your choice
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ chopped onion
  • handful of shredded carrots
  • handfull of grated pecorino romano
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup panko
  • ¼ cup red pepper sauce or marinara thats on the thicker side
  • ¾ cup asiago cheese, diced small
  • chopped basil and parsley for seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • Additional red pepper sauce or thick marinara, enough to slather the top of the meatloaf
  • 3 slices of fresh mozzarella
  • Fresh basil for garnish
Instructions
  1. Mix everything together in a big bowl.
  2. Form meat mixture into a loaf.
  3. Place meatloaf into baking dish
  4. Smother with enough red pepper sauce or marinara to cover it from end to end.
  5. Bake at 375F for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches 160.
  6. Last 5 minutes or so place mozzarella on top and let it start to melt and ooze.
  7. Garnish with basil leaves on top of melted mozzarella.

 

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