This dish came about because I currently have 3 heads of green cabbage in my fridge needing a good home. (What? Is that weird?) It’s cabbage season and cabbage is cheap so I love finding new things to do with it. I also love the idea of taking an ingredient that has been played out and making people look at it in a different way.
I’ve paired thinly sliced cabbage with angel hair pasta before in this casserole, and still loved the idea of the pairing, but this time I wanted to create something a little healthier and suitable for the vegan clients I cook for. So I just started to play. And it came out really well! I love when a little playful experiment turns into something useful, don’t you?
This dish is roasty and toasty and nutty and salty and deeply satisfying. Roasting cabbage turns the somewhat boring vegetable into something magical and amazing. And when it’s paired with the whole wheat pasta and toasted almonds, you have a wonderfully earthy dish that truly hits the spot on a cold winter’s night.
|serves about 6|
Spread the cabbage and onion onto 2 large, greased cookie sheets. Toss with more olive oil and season well with kosher salt, black pepper, and a couple pinches of sugar. Spread evenly over both cookie sheets and roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, rotating the pans and tossing halfway through to ensure even cooking and crispiness. Cook until very brown and very crispy.
Set aside while you finish the dish. (This step can be done ahead of time if need be.)
While your cabbage is roasting, boil 1 box of whole wheat angel hair pasta (EDIT: or buckwheat/soba noodles) in heavily salted water til al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
While your pasta is cooking (or wait til it’s done so you can use the same pot), heat some olive oil and saute 5 cloves of minced garlic at medium high heat for about 30 seconds, add the zest of 1 lemon and a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes. Toss in the oil and after about another 30 seconds add in 1 cup of raw almonds, finely chopped. Toss in the oil, add more oil if there isn’t enough to coat, and season well with kosher salt and a pinch of sugar. Toast the nuts in the oil and seasoning for about another minute, stirring well to make sure you don’t burn them. Taste them and when they taste good and toasted, they’re done. Set aside.
Return your pasta back to that same hot pot, add in your cooked cabbage and onions and toss well to combine. Stir in your reserved pasta water, add the juice of the previously zested lemon and the zest and juice of one more (that’s now 2 lemons total) and toss. Check your seasoning, it should be salty and lemony and deeply toasty.
Serve garnished with the toasted almond crumbs and parsley.
(EDIT: You can now watch me talk about and make this dish by clicking the link below… it’s the video that landed in the lap of Food Network 😉