People always underestimate a head of green cabbage.

It just seems so unexciting, so never-ending, so totally forgettable. Its sister the red cabbage gets all the glory with its starring role stuffed into fish tacos or nestled underneath a good schnitzel.

Cabbage, Fennel, and Pancetta Pasta | Things I Made TodayOver the years though, I’ve learned to re-imagine cabbage. Instead of assuming 1990s American coleslaw, I try to learn from other cultures.

Cabbage, Fennel, and Pancetta Pasta | Things I Made Today

I’ve tossed it with fennel, cumin, and sesame seeds and served it alongside shrimp and rice in this Indian dish adapted from Madhur Jaffery. I’ve turned it into kimchi. I’ve layered it into a Russian salmon pie. Cabbage, I’ve learned, does not have to be boring.

Cabbage, Fennel, and Pancetta Pasta | Things I Made Today

Last week, with cabbages showing up in our CSA basket and Whisk, the Wisconsin food blogging collective, challenging me to come up with a new market-inspired recipe, I decided cabbage was the perfect vegetable to showcase.

Cabbage, Fennel, and Pancetta Pasta | Things I Made Today

In addition to my recipe, check out some of my fellow Whisk bloggers farmer’s market creations below.

Cabbage, Fennel, and Pancetta Pasta
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 8 ounce pancetta, cubed
  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, cored and sliced thin
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1½ pounds savoy cabbage, cored and sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ pound whole wheat penne pasta, dry
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving at least ½ cup of the pasta water for sauce.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or dutch oven, cook pancetta over medium high heat until browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add in fennel and onion and cook until they soften, about 5 more minutes. Add olive oil, toss to coat. Next, add in red chili flakes and cabbage, working in batches if needed. Cook cabbage for 10-12 minutes, until the cabbage has softened and started to brown.
  3. Reduce heat to low, add butter and toss to coat. When pasta is ready, add it to cabbage. Pour in pasta water, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, stirring constantly, until a nice sauce starts to form. Add in ¾ cup Parmesan and toss to coat once more.
  4. Season with remaining Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.

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This week’s basket brings a perfect range of colors.

The green beans are finally here (YES!) and the tomatoes are still coming strong. I’m pretty determined to make the most of these last week’s of August produce and then get serious about squash and Brussels sprouts. Are you?

Farmer's Market & CSA Series {Week 11} | Things I Made Today

read the rest »

If you could put summer in a salad, what would you include?

I’m sure there are many good answers to this question, but this is my version. I pulled together some of my favorite ingredients from some of my favorite places to make a salad that screamed August. There were the cherry tomatoes and sweet corn from last week’s CSA from Kings Hill Farm. There was the the baguette from Stella’s, famous for their hot spicy cheese bread, but with so many other good products that don’t get the fame they deserve.

Panzanella Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Figs, and Corn | Things I Made Today read the rest »