I got the idea for this recipe at an Italian restaurant, one owned by Lidia Bastianich. When you think about the ingredients, cabbage and bacon, it doesn't seem very Italian. It also doesn't sound like it would work with pasta. Yet it did, pretty well.
I'm not about to suggest that I cook better than the world's most famous Italian grandmother. No way. But the dish got me thinking. Bacon and pasta. And a huge head of cabbage from the last CSA package of the season. A few of the last apples still in the fridge. Hmmm, could work.
I'm not going to call the end result Italian or German. It's just a nice, cozy dish on a cold winter day like today. Something warm and spicy while we wait for the winter storm to hopefully pass us by.
Bacon and Cabbage Pasta
1 lb. bacon, diced
3 shallots, diced
2 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. mustard powder
1 tsp. salt
2 green apples, cored and diced
1/2 medium head of cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup apple cider
1 tbs. cider vinegar
2 tbs. chopped sage
1 tbs. chopped rosemary
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 lb. potato gnocchi, or substitute 1/2 lb. dried whole wheat pasta
Cook the bacon in a large pot. Remove when just crisp and drain on a paper towel. Pour off all but 1 tbs. of the grease. Add the shallot to the pot and saute for two minutes. Add the spices and saute for a couple more minutes. Add the apples and cabbage and saute again, tossing to get the cabbage wilted.
Cook pasta or gnocchi according to directions.
Add the cider, vinegar, sage and rosemary to the pot. Braise the cabbage and apples with the spices and herbs for another 5-8 minutes. Before serving fold in the crisp bacon and the gnocchi or pasta.