Saturday, March 6, 2010

40 Meatless Meals: Pasta Valitellina

Adapted from Italian Cooking in the Grand Tradition. Valitellina refers to an Lombardian village's type of cheese and buckwheat noodles. My version preserves the crispness of the cabbage, uses a white sauce rather than a butter to better bind the ingredients, and omits the potatoes. Savoy cabbage has a distinctive, nutty flavor that makes this dish more flavorful, but you can use regular green cabbage instead. This casserole does have a lot of prep work, but it can be assembled ahead of time and baked when ready.

2 T olive oil
1 small head of Savoy cabbage, finely chopped (about 2 pounds)
1/2 t salt, or to taste
1 lb short, whole-wheat pasta
3 cups white sauce (I used the recipe on the cornstarch box)
1 t dried sage
1/8 t grated nutmeg
3 minced garlic cloves
1 cup grated Swiss or Gouda cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 3 quart casserole dish.

Sautee cabbage in olive oil until crisp and crunchy, about 7 minutes. Salt.

Meanwhile prepare pasta, drain, and set aside. Stir sage, nutmeg, and garlic into white sauce.

Layer pasta-cabbage-white sauce-cheese twice. Bake at 350 20-25 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and cheese has melted.

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