I've been tagged… and somehow, someway, while telling you 7 random facts about myself (as per the tag requirements), I'm also going to culminate this post in a recipe for a surprisingly wonderful dish I made last week. The surprise is that it has cooked cabbage in it and surprise surprise, cooked cabbage is one of the few vegetables I'm still on the fence about.
I had a scarring experience when I was but a wee lass of 6 or so. My mother spent the day slaving over a huge pot of cabbage soup, filling the house with a smell I could only associate with (and I know this is a word non grata on a food blog, but here goes) vomit. This, in turn, led to me spending the night in the bathroom… sorry again … vomiting. Dinner had yet to even be served before all of this happened. Just the smell made me ill. So there you have two factoids about me – once the smell alone of cabbage soup made me ill AND I hold long and useless grudges against foods that perhaps don't deserve it.
Factoid number three… my tendency to hold long and unjustified grudges against foods is something I inherited from my mother. My mother, to this day, will not eat beets because when she was 6 one of her friends became ill, after eating beets. Not my mom, mind you, her friend. I, on the other hand, eat beets by the bushel. I once ate 2 grapefruit sized beets in one sitting. Let's just call that last one fact number 4.
Going back to holding grudges against food, I no longer do that. If I did then that would completely nix marzipan croissants, deep-fried tofu, peanut sauce, red wine, tequila and whiskey off of my list of favorite foods (number 5).
Which brings me to this thought, as much as I adore food, there are some foods that I cannot give my heart over to. These foods include almost every variety of mushroom. I'm pretty much open to almost all other foods. Mushrooms are for the birds, if you ask me. That was 6.
And 7?? How about a random non-food related fact? My average body temperature is 97.6 degrees. Is anyone elses? I've never known.
Thank you to Claire for tagging me! Because I'm pretty sure everyone in the world has been tagged, I won't tag anyone. However, if you're so moved, please consider yourself tagged and either list 7 random facts about yourself in the comments section here or even on your own blog.
As far as this cabbage dish I've come to love, it has a curious name: Pizzocheri. It certainly doesn't call to mind a rich creamy vegetable and pasta dish, but that's exactly what it is. Apparently it's a dish served in an Alpine village in the Val d'Aosta region of Italy. It's served after a 6 mile foot race. After the race the runners and spectators sit down for a meal of pizzocheri. They then retire to caves for a demonstration on whipping heavy cream. I couldn't make this stuff up. I could however make tons and tons of pizzocheri.
Adapted from Italian Festival Food by Anne Bianchi
8 oz. buckwheat pasta (I used Jerusalem artichoke pasta, and it too was great!)
4 small new red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 half a small head of cabbage, cored and julienned
5 cups salted water for cooking
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 medium onion, finely sliced
1 clove garlic
5 fresh sage leaves
1 cup vegetable broth
4 oz. fontina cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Turn oven on to 350 degrees.
Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Be sure to salt the cooking water generously.
Put the potatoes and cabbage in a pot with the salted water for cooking. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender.
Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a skillet and saute the onion and garlic until translucent. Toss with the pasta and cooked vegetables. Turn off the heat and pour the vegetable broth over the mixture.
Melt the remaining butter in a skillet over low heat and saute the sage for about 5 mins. Remove the sage and discard.
In a casserole or souffle dish layer the pasta, then the vegetables. Drizzle with sage butter, a layer of fontina and a dusting of grated parmesan. Keep layering until the ingredients are used up, ending in a cheese layer. Cover the dish and bake for 30 mins. At this point you can serve it or you can remove the cover and place it under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top.