I may be in the minority, but I consider myself a winter person.
January is here. I love the quiet season of winter. I have always longed for snow and cherished the satisfaction of a late winter afternoon sipping tea and staring at the blue shadows on the snow. (As my husband says: “You’re not right. Who likes winter?”)
Anyway, back in the kitchen, January is the perfect time for comfort and low-key dining. Simple soups, stews and pastas are welcome after the holiday season is over.
Indulging in my undying love for cookbooks, I recently purchased a little gem by renowned restaurateur, TV chef, and prolific cookbook author Lydia Bastianich. It’s called “common sense Italian”. Lydia’s theory here is that you can make delicious meals with simple ingredients and don’t throw food away. I read that last part with guilt and vowed to find a place for the rest of the vegetables.
I found a great little recipe from a cookbook called “Farfalle Della Bisnonna” or “Bowtie with Cabbage and Meat Sauce”. It was perfect for the cold night before Christmas. Lydia says the dish was her grandmother’s favorite and she could have it for lunch and dinner.
Cabbage and sausage, available whenever other veggies look tired and tired in the winter, make great partners for this easy-to-prepare pasta recipe. But you can also use hot sausages and different types of chicken and turkey sausages. Lydia also suggests using chopped cooked chicken if desired. You can also substitute penne for the very wide noodles known as bowtie or pappardelle.
Farfalle della Bisnonna
- kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pound Italian sweet sausage, removed from casing
- ½ cup chopped carrots
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 head Savoy or regular cabbage, chopped (about 4 cups)
- 1 pound bowtie pasta (farfalle)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano
- Boil salted water in a large pot for pasta.
- Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the sausage. Cook, crushing with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 3 minutes.
- Add chopped carrots, onions, and celery and simmer for 5 minutes, until softened.
- Season with dried red pepper flakes and thyme.
- Make some space in the frying pan and add the tomato paste. “Toast” in skillet for 1-2 minutes, then stir into chopped vegetables.
- Add cabbage and 3 cups water. (I substituted 1 cup of white wine for 1 cup of water.)
- Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the cabbage is tender. Then remove the lid from the pan and continue cooking for about 10 minutes to thicken the sauce.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta to al dente. Then drain and add to the sauce.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil (more if desired) and mix well. (so that the sauce coats the entire pasta)
- Add melted cheese and mix well.
This recipe seemed to make a lot of pasta, so I either feed my family or serve leftovers from lunch. . It was served with warm Italian bread and sliced cold pears.My husband was happy that his nightly vegetables were already on his entree!
There may not be many winter fans in the world, but I hope you can spend January warmly with heart-warming pasta.
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