Pasta Shells with Cabbage and Sausage

This was one of those recipes that didn’t sound so good on paper — I was dubious about the use of cream — but turned out to be absolutely delicious. Yes, it is hearty and wintry and probably not a good dish for July. But it is also quick and easy to make with ingredients that are more than likely already in the larder. The recipe is adapted from Marcella Cucina by Marcella Hazan, a wonderful cookbook for discovering quick, easy, authentically Italian dishes.

I did modify the recipe a bit. Rather than boil the cabbage for 25 minutes, I merely blanched it and finished cooking it with the sausage, so it retained some crunch and freshness. I also used half-and-half instead of heavy cream without any discernible loss of flavor but probably a tad fewer calories. A nicely spiced chicken sausage worked well, too.

Pasta Shells with Cabbage and Sausage

Yields: 4 servings
Time to make: ~30 minutes

What you need:

  • 1 sm. head Savoy cabbage
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Italian sausage links, skin removed and crumbled
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • grated Parmesan to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. pasta shells or other chunky pasta shapes
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Core the cabbage and cut into quarters, discarding any discolored outer leaves.
  3. Blanch the cabbage quarters for 1-2 minutes, remove and drain.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium.
  5. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it becomes translucent.
  6. Add the garlic and sausage, and brown the meat, stirring.
  7. Chop the cabbage coarsely and add to the skillet.
  8. Stir to mix well.
  9. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  10. Meanwhile, boil the pasta in the same water in which you blanched the cabbage.
  11. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet.
  12. Stir in the cream and season well.
  13. Cook just long enough for the cream to bind everything together and garnish with Parmesan.

This is my entry for Presto Pasta Nights this week.

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4 thoughts on “Pasta Shells with Cabbage and Sausage

  1. Pam 30 July 2008 at 6:42 am

    Hey I did a recipe similar to this! I’m so proud of myself when I think of something and it’s similar to something a real chef made! That cookbook sounds like another one to add to my collection!

  2. Ruth 1 August 2008 at 7:26 am

    It does sound wonderful, although I do think I’ll save it for a cooler day…somehow when it’s this hot, all I can think of is salad. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  3. Gay 1 August 2008 at 7:29 pm

    I love Italian sausages in pasta, this must taste really good!

  4. Shannon 2 August 2008 at 6:09 am

    Make it! It is delish.

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