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Pasta dish puts cabbages versatility to good use

Want to get ahead? Buy a cabbage.

In the upcoming weeks cabbage is going on sale — cheap. But don’t wait for St. Patrick’s Day to consume that cabbage. Not only is cabbage a culinary workhorse but it’s really healthy. Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamins C, K and B6. Also, it’s a great source of manganese, potassium, folate and fiber.

Cabbage is such an underrated vegetable. Its versatility is virtually endless. It can be eaten raw or braised, sautéed, baked, grilled, broiled and boiled. It can be made into slaw, salad, soup, stir fries, cabbage rolls, egg rolls and fermented into kimchi or sauerkraut. If you only think of the bland boiled stuff of days gone by, it’s time to explore.

If you’d like to showcase cabbage as the superstar she is, try this recipe. It uses pappardelle, very broad flat pasta noodles originally from the region of Tuscany. You can substitute fettuccine or wide egg noodles if you can’t find it.

CABBAGE RIBBONS WITH BACON,

SAGE AND PAPPARDELLE

What you’ll need:

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

Fresh sage, about 12 leaves

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 pound bacon, sliced into long strips

1 head cabbage, sliced into ribbons

1/2 large onion, sliced into strips

1 8.8-ounce package pappardelle

1 14.5-ounce can chicken broth

Parmesan

Black pepper

Here’s how:

Begin by slicing all the ingredients as indicated. The beauty of this dish comes from all the long ribbons of cabbage, bacon and pasta swirled together. Try to match the width of the pappardelle when slicing the cabbage.

Set a stock pot with salted water to boil and preheat the oven to 400 F.

Begin by preparing the garnish. In a small skillet on low heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter with one tablespoon olive oil. Add the sage leaves and cook until crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Next, add the garlic and sauté until slightly browned. Remove and drain with the sage. Set this amazing garlic and sage infused butter aside.

Next, in a large (6 quart) fry pan on medium heat, cook the bacon until barely crisp but not crumbly. Set aside. Drain all but one tablespoon drippings from the pan. (If you leave a little more, I won’t tell anyone). Sauté the onion until softened and add the cabbage. You may need to work in batches.

Once the cabbage is softened and coated in bacony goodness, place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, turning once during cooking. You could skip this step, but the little bit of caramelization gives this dish amazing depth of flavor.

Meanwhile, boil the pasta according to package directions. Place drained pasta in the skillet you used for the bacon, return the bacon, add roasted cabbage and onions. Add chicken broth and mix it all together.

Serve drizzled with the sage butter and topped with the crispy garlic, sage leaves, shaved Parmesan and a generous grind of pepper.

Cabbage will keep well for one to two months in the refrigerator, so stock up while it’s on sale.

Why did the cabbage win the race? It was ahead. Can we still be friends?

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com.

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