Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rigatoni with Sausage and Napa Cabbage

I lifted this recipe from a sidebar in Saveur. I tried to link to the recipe on their site but it doesn't appear to be there. A lot of other great recipes are though, seriously.

I believe the original recipe called for penne (pens) and really any chunky (not thin or long) pasta would work great but I really like rigatoni (big and striped).

Also the original recipe called for the napa cabbage to be sixthed, boiled, squeezed dry and chopped. I much prefer to sautee the chopped cabbage.

And finally, the original recipe prohibits the use of regular cabbage. I have tried it with regular green cabbage and though it is different and more cabbagey and chunkier, it really isn't bad.

Rigatoni with Sausage and Napa Cabbage

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Head Napa Cabbage roughly chopped
1 Pound or so Italian Sausage removed from casings
3 or so Cloves Garlic, crushed
1 Pinch Crushed Red Pepper
1 Jar Marinara Sauce (or the equivalent amount of homemade)
1 Cup or more Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add cabbage and season with salt. Sautee until cooked through and beginning to brown.

Meanwhile, heat skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage, garlic and red pepper. Cook, stirring and breaking up sausage with a wooden spoon until no longer pink (about 10 minutes). If you are concerned about a burnt garlic flavor, you should add it for just the last 30 seconds of cooking.

Reduce heat to medium. Add marinara sauce and cabbage to the sausage mixture and continue cooking for about 15 minutes or so to allow flavors to meld.

Cook rigatoni per the package directions.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Add enough of the sausage cabbage mixture to moisten and turn out into a bowl. Pour the rest of the sausage cabbage mixture on top of the pasta and top liberally with grated cheese.

Words cannot describe how delicious this is. Something in the napa cabbage; a tang? a bite? makes this dish really special.


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