Vermicelli with Savoy Cabbage & Pancetta
From 250 True Italian Pasta Dishes
Hands on time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: as long as it takes to boil the pasta plus 3 minutes
1lb/450g vermicelli or spaghetti (I used fresh whole wheat linguine)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup pancetta, diced
¼ cup onion, diced (I used 1 small red onion)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 ½ cups Savoy cabbage, deribbed and diced (I used ½ a small head, quartered, core removed and cut into ½” slices horizontally)
6 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (I actually used Asiago)
1. Cook the pasta according to the package in salted boiling water.
2. In the meantime, using a large skillet, heat the olive oil, pancetta and onion over high heat. Cook, stirring until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes). Season to taste with salt & pepper. Add the wine and cook, stirring until reduced by half. Stir in the cabbage and reduce the heat to lowest possible and simmer until the cabbage is tender but still a bit crunchy.
3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain well, reserving a cup of the pasta water.
4. Add 2 tbsp of the cooking water to the cabbage mixture and raise the heat to high. Add the pasta and toss to coat evenly, using tongs. Add more pasta water if needed and half the cheese. Toss again.
5. Transfer to a serving bowl, top with the rest of the cheese and more freshly ground pepper and serve.
Ruth’s note: the author called for Italian vermicelli and suggested spaghettini or spaghetti as an option. I think any long pasta works well.
As for substitute for Savoy cabbage, Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise and either whole leaves of smaller sprouts or cut across in thin slices for larger ones, make a great alternative.