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The Forgotten Fall Vegetable

September 25, 2002|ABBY MANDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables, especially this time of year. Its versatility is amazing.

Use it raw in salads and slaws or cooked in soups, casseroles, pastas and sandwiches. And don't forget about sauerkraut, made from fermented cabbage.

Cabbage, along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, is a cruciferous vegetable. Cabbage is a good source of vitamins, especially C and A. And it is low in calories. Typically you'll find three kinds in supermarkets--green, red and savoy.

That being said, consider the following recipes using cabbage. The pappardelle with cabbage in cream sauce may sound humble and peasant-like, but it's one of those great surprise dishes.

It's mouthwatering and makes a lovely, fresh presentation. Cooking the cabbage in tandem with the pappardelle is easy--just add the cabbage a few minutes after the pasta--and also sweetens up the cabbage flavor. Serve this pasta as a main dish, first course or side dish.

This sandwich comes from Ina's Restaurant on Randolph Street in Chicago. It's certainly a match for the famous Reuben but instead features sauteed red cabbage for the sauerkraut, apples for the corned beef and includes the traditional Swiss cheese.

Fall coleslaw with apples and bacon proves that coleslaw is a recipe that has infinite variations. Here, the apples and bacon make it a good pairing with roasted pork, lamb, poultry or game.

Pappardelle are long, flat, wide Italian noodles. The same weight of fettuccine can be substituted, also traditional egg noodles.

Pappardelle With Sweet Cabbage in Sage Cream Sauce

Active Work Time: 10 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/3 cup minced shallots

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh sage

Salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 pound dry pappardelle

1/2 head small green cabbage, about

1 1/4 pounds, cored, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving

Sage sprigs, for garnish

Heat the oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the shallots and garlic. Cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add the cream, sage, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the pepper and nutmeg. Stir well; simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Bring a 4-quart pot of salted water to boil. Add the pappardelle. With about 6 minutes to go, add the cabbage.

Cook, uncovered, until the pasta is al dente, about 7 to 10 minutes total. Drain well; transfer to a large, shallow serving bowl. Toss with the cream sauce and 1/3 cup of cheese. Serve hot, garnished with sage sprigs. Pass grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese separately.

2 main-course servings, 4 side-dish servings. Each of 4 servings: 382 calories; 486 mg sodium; 54 mg cholesterol; 24 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 31 grams carbohydrates; 13 grams protein; 6.49 grams fiber.

*

Ina's Grilled Gruyere, Red Cabbage and Apple Sandwich

Active Work Time: 10 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes

3 tablespoons butter, divided, plus more for griddle

1 red onion, thinly-sliced

1/2 small head red cabbage, about 3/4 pound, quartered, cored, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, halved, cored, thinly sliced

Dijon mustard, to taste

8 slices each hearty rye bread

2 1/2 ounces Gruyere cheese slices

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is sizzling, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened but not brown, about 4 minutes. Add the cabbage and vinegar. Cook gently, covered, until the cabbage is tender but still textured, about 12 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar, the caraway seeds, salt and pepper to taste. Cook gently 5 minutes longer, stirring often to prevent burning.

Toss the apple slices with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar in a large bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to brown, add the apple. Cook until golden and tender but still intact, about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often.

To assemble, generously spread Dijon mustard on 4 bread slices. Cover the mustard with the warm apple. Cover the apples with a cheese slice. Divide the warm cabbage equally among the remaining 4 slices of bread. Place a cheese slice on the cabbage. Leave the sandwiches open-faced for cooking; then close after cooking.

Heat the oven to 250 degrees.

Heat the griddle over medium heat and lightly butter. Place 2 open-faced sandwiches on the griddle. Cook, tented with foil, until the cheese is melted, about 4 minutes. Close the sandwich, pressing it lightly together. Turn it over and place on a baking sheet. Keep warm in the oven while cooking the remaining sandwiches. Serve warm.

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