2 cups milk
4 ounces bread
1 large onion, cut in chunks
1 large carrot, cut in chunks
1 large rib celery, cut in chunks
3 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds Nash’s sweet Italian sausage
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dry white wine
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
Cabbage Rolls and Sauce
1 medium head Savoy cabbage
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock, hot
Pour milk over the bread chunks and let soak until completely saturated. Using a food processor, mince onion, carrot, celery and garlic into a paste. You should have about 2 cups. Pour olive oil into a heavy pan and set over medium-high heat. Scrape in 1/2 cup of the paste and cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to dry and stick to the pan. Crumble sausage into the skillet and cook, stirring, until all the meat is sizzling and no longer pink. Season with salt and pour in the white wine. Bring to a boil and cook until the wine has evaporated. Remove from heat and scrape into a bowl.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Bring a big pot of water to a boil. When sausage has cooled, squeeze milk from the bread. Crumble over the sausage and combine with your hands. Work in egg, parsley and cheese, tossing together in a loose stuffing.
Cut out core of the cabbage and separate 12 of the largest leaves from the head. Lay each leaf flat, outside up, and shave off raised ridge of the rib at the leaf base. Slice the remaining small inner leaves into shreds about 1/4-inch wide. Drop the big leaves into the boiling water and blanch them until soft, about 7 minutes. Cool them in icy water; drain well and lay on paper towels to dry.
Wipe the sauté pan and return to stove. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil on medium-high. Stir in the remaining paste and cook until dried and sticking, about 4 minutes. Toss in the shredded cabbage and salt, and cook, stirring, until the cabbage starts to wilt. Pour in white wine, raise heat to bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 10 minutes or so, to blend flavors. Lay out each softened leaf, rib side down. Form 1/3 cup stuffing into a plump log, and lay it on the leaf. Roll the bottom of the leaf over the filling, tuck the sides in, and roll up tightly the rest of the way.
When all the rolls are formed, lower the heat under the sauce and place each roll in the sauté pan, seam side down. Pour in the stock, submerging the rolls, heat to a bubbling boil, and put on the pan lid. Set the pan in the oven to braise the rolls for an hour. Remove the lid and push the rolls down in the sauce, which will have reduced. Bake, uncovered, for another 30 minutes or so, until the sauce has reduced and thickened and the tops of the rolls are nicely caramelized. Serve with remaining sauce.
We thank Lidia’s Italy for this recipe.