Stuffed Cabbage: Cavolo Ripieno
- 1 large head of green cabbage
- 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
- 1/2 -cup fresh bread crumbs, plus 1/2 cup, toasted
- 2 bunches Italian parsley, finely chopped to yield 1/2 cup
- 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 10 sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 bunch mint leaves, finely chopped
- Basic Tomato Sauce:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4 inch dice
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
- 1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
- 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
- Salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.
Remove whole leaves from the cabbage to yield 14 large leaves and plunge into the boiling water. Cook until soft enough to fold, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water and lay out on clean kitchen towels to continue cooling.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, place the ground turkey, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/2 cup parsley, red onion, sage, salt and pepper and eggs and mix well with hands. Lay out the cabbage leaves on a cutting board and place a medium-sized handful of the turkey mixture in the lower center of each leaf. Fold the lateral sides inward and roll from the base to form a closed pocket out of each stuffed leaf. In an ovenproof casserole large enough to hold all the cabbage rolls, place half the tomato sauce and all the wine. Lay the cabbage rolls atop the sauce. Spoon the remaining sauce over and bake 1 hour. Remove and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2-cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup parsley and chopped mint. Serve immediately.Basic Tomato Sauce:
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer. Yield: 4 cups
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