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Stuffed Cabbage Leaves Country Style
Fagottini di Verza Farciti
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6 large cabbage leaves, (about 9" in diameter) or 12 medium leaves (about 7" in diameter) (See chef’s Tip)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery
1 medium onion
1 lb hot Italian sausages, casings removed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup red wine
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
½cup Italian style breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons olive oil for baking
1 recipe for Spicy Tomato Sauce
Spicy Tomato Sauce
Yield: 6 generous portions
Preheat the oven to 375degrees
Make a "Soffritto" (a flavorful vegetable base) by finely chopping together the carrots, celery and onion about 10-12 quick pulses in a food processor.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook together the olive oil, the prepared "Soffritto", sausage, parsley, garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté, breaking up the sausages in small pieces until the onion is tender and the meat is nicely browned, about 10-12 minutes. Add the wine, gently scraping to dislodge any flavorful brown bits that have accumulated at the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat and reduce the wine by half.
Pour on the tomato sauce and the chicken stock bring to boil, then simmer 10-12 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and rich. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Stir the cheese and breadcrumbs into the cooled sausage mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
To stuff the cabbage leaves, arrange the leaves on a flat surface, spoon approximately three quarters of a cup of the filling in the center of a large leaf. Fold the cabbage around the filling as you would an envelope or square burrito. Carefully turn the cabbage rolls over so the loose ends are down. Secure the cabbage rolls with kitchen twine, tying each cabbage up like a small package. Place the finished stuffed cabbage in a lightly greased baking pan. Drizzle the cabbage packages with a little olive oil and bake for 25-30 minutes until the cabbage has browned lightly and the juices start to run.
While the cabbage is cooking, make the Spicy Tomato Sauce ..
Serve the sauce alongside the stuffed cabbage.
To easily remove the cabbage leaves from a fresh head without breaking them, try this easy technique. Drop the whole head of cabbage in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Remove the cabbage from the water carefully with tongs or a large slotted spoon. Rinse in cold water. Two or three of the large, outside leaves will now easily peel off the head without cracking. Repeat boiling the cabbage and removing two or three outer leaves until you have enough for the recipe. Alternatively, remove the core from the bottom of a fresh cabbage and peel off the raw leaves. Parboil the leaves in boiling, salted water for 1-2 minutes, until tender and rinse in cold water.
Remove the hard ribs from each leaf by cutting an approximately 1-triangle from the tough bottom section of the leaf.
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