Thursday, November 12, 2009

Italian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Tomato Sauce

Mom always made these, an inexpensive healthy dish. This recipe was adapted by her since the Traditional way of making isn't at all Italian. So in went the garlic and the tomato sauce with Italian herbs and the Italian version was born. Amazing how healthy these are when made with ground turkey, rice and cabbage....delicious blends of herbs and a great sauce....

A little different than the original stuffed cabbage, we prefer ours with rice and lamb, you can use your preference on meat. We use lots of fresh Italian herbs and of course lots of garlic. This is one dish I love to make as soon as there is a little nip in the air. Fall brings out those comfort foods, and for us this was one of them.

I usually make sure that all the leaves that you can't roll, that are too small, surround the rolls in the pan. They make a great side dish with another meal.

Roll up tightly and make sure you don't overfill as filling will expand.

Lay out all cabbage and place filling evenly inside to make sure you have enough for all rolls, then rolls and secure with toothpicks.

1 medium head of cabbage cleaned and thick stalk removed (tip, freeze whole head, thaw leaves in warm water, leaves will wilt, no boiling, its amazing how that works so well and no smell in the house!)

1 lb of ground hamburger, turkey, pork, Italian ground sausage or lamb ( lamb is what is shown)

2 cups of fast cooking rice

3 chopped fresh tomatoes

4 cloves of whole garlic

2 tablespoon minced garlic

1 large can of tomato sauce

enough water to cover cabbage rolls

4 fresh basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon each oregano, parsley, garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, salt and pepper (if using hamburger, try 1/4 teaspoon of fennel seed)

1/2 cup white wine


In a bowl mix meat, rice and chopped tomatoes. Add garlic minced, salt and pepper and a dash of cayenne if you like spicy.

Lay wilted leaves on a cutting board, cutting off any thick parts that won't roll. Place one of two tablespoons of mixture on the leaf, roll up and spear with a toothpick. Repeat until all rolls are filled. Place in a dutch oven or large electric fry pan. Add 1 can of large tomato sauce, remaining garlic cloves, water to cover the cabbage rolls as it will boil away and wine, sprinkle with herbs add wine. Simmer on low or if using electric fry pan at 300 . You can also bake these at 350 for approx 1 1/2 hours, checking frequently and adding more water as it evaporates. Cook cabbage is tender.
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