cabbage pasta

By far the most requested “recipe” my grown children ask me for is Cabbage Pasta. And if they don’t ask for the recipe … if they think they’re gonna wing it and go it alone … they will text me with a question about it at some point in the process.

The thing is, it isn’t a recipe. At all.

Cabbage pasta was created out of desperation. I had about $10 in my checking account, some keilbasa in my fridge and a couple days until my next paycheck. I knew I couldn’t serve the kids slivers of keilbasa three times a day to try to make it, so I took my gasping debit card on over to the Food Lion and considered my options. I ended up with an onion, a head of cabbage and some store brand bowtie pasta.

I’d had cabbage and pasta many times. It’s usually just that. Cabbage and some sort of pasta, deliciously coated in a butter based sauce with lots of pepper. It’s a simple side dish claimed by a handful of countries as belonging to them. My budget and my imagination took it to a different place.


  • Your favorite sausage (I like this with andouille)
  • 1 box of bowtie pasta, cooked until just al dente
  • 1 head of cabbage, chopped (if I’m feeling lazy, I’ll buy a couple bags of shredded)
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 stick of butter
  • A scoop of bacon grease (I don’t play)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Throw your butter and bacon grease in a large pot over a medium high heat. Cut the sausage into bite size pieces and add it to the melting fats. Toss in the onions and some salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the onions begin to carmelize and the sausage has a nice sear.

Add the cabbage, the vegetable stock and some more salt and pepper. Give it a good stir to get it well combined. Reduce the heat to medium and put a lid on the pot. Let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage has cooked through.

Add the pasta and as much salt and pepper as you prefer (we go heavy on the pepper around here.) Give the whole thing a good stir. Cook a few minutes more to heat the pasta through.

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