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Cabbage Two Ways (Hey, it’s not spring yet)

I made these two cabbage variations last month, when cabbage was the main green I had to work with. Now that we’re past the frozen February, I was hesitant to post about cabbage yet again, but then I noticed that pasta and cabbage dishes are having a little moment, apparently. First I saw this post by Kickpleat, featuring a comforting cabbage dish very similar to what I have been playing around with. And then the Kitchn posted this recipe for pizzoccheri – yes, that’s pasta, potatoes, and cabbage! – and I felt vindicated in my own attempts at this pairing. See, cabbage is a comfort food, especially when paired with pasta. Clearly, the Poles and Italians know this.

Cabbage the first: You’ll need a small head of green cabbage (or about 1/2 of a large one), shredded; one small onion, diced. Start those first on high heat in a hot pan with some canola oil. Let things brown a bit, say for five to seven minutes, stirring only occasionally, then add a generous splash of white wine (or dry vermouth), along with some sea salt and herb de Provence. Turn heat to low, cover the pan, and let the cabbage braise until it softens and becomes slightly sweet. Meanwhile, cook about 8 oz. of linguine, fettuccine, or spaghetti according to directions. Turn off heat, stir about 1/4 cup sour cream into the cabbage – just enough to help make a bit of sauce – then mix the drained pasta with a good amount of the cabbage in a bowl (you want to have some leftover cabbage for the second round). Serve with a fried egg on top, if you want.

Cabbage the second: Take about 1 cup of leftover braised sour-cream cabbage (see above); a scant 1 cup (dry) of small pasta shells; a 15 oz can chickpeas; some fresh parsley, chopped; and sriracha to taste. Cook the shells, rinse the chickpeas, and then mix cabbage and chickpeas and shells (still warm), toss in the chopped parsley and sriracha; salt to taste. Serve at room temperature or heat up a bit in a microwave for lunch at the office the next day.

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