This colorful pasta dish is something near and dear to our hearts. It is inspired by a local favorite, haluski, which we never tire of eating (or re-inventing). So when our friends and Barilla and Chef’s Roll sent us a goodie bag full of pasta and asked us to create a dish which represented our region, we both agreed that a pasta with braised cabbage and caramelized onions was the only way to go.
While Jackie and I have lived in several regions, we are always drawn back to our Midwestern roots, where Eastern European cooking is a mainstay. My mom made a simple variation of this dish when I was a kid, and I have tried to develop its complexity over the years. I chose Barilla’s Casarecce pasta for this recipe because its homemade texture holds the savory flavors of this local favorite beautifully. I also used red cabbage for its bold color and sweetness.
I had high hopes for this pasta with braised cabbage. Having made many varieties of haluski with egg noodles and dumplings, I was sure that the Casarecce would be just as good. What I didn’t expect was that I liked it even better! The saltiness of the bacon and the sweetness of the red cabbage came together quite well, and if that wasn’t enough, the hit of balsamic vinegar finished the dish off perfectly. It is a fantastic meal on its own, or it could be made more hearty by adding grilled chicken breast. Its beautiful color makes it a great addition to any table, but its unmistakable combination of flavors make it feel like home.
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- 2 quarts chopped red cabbage
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 large onion
- 6 TBSP butter
- ¼ C olive oil
- 10 oz dry pasta (we used Barilla Casarecce)
- ½ C balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
- 1 TBSP salt
- Pepper to taste.
- ½ C butter lettuce shredded as garnish
- Cook Pasta according to directions on package. Drain and allow to cool
- Bring a large stock pot filled with water to a boil. Add cabbage and cook for 5 minutes.
- Drain cabbage and set aside.
- In the same stockpot, add the olive oil and dice bacon into ¼" pieces and add to pot.
- Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Julienne onions, add to pot and cook together with bacon over medium high heat until bacon is cooked through and onions are a caramel color ( about 10 minutes).
- Add red cabbage and cook an additional 10 minutes until cabbage has wilted and slightly browned.
- Add pasta to pot and stir to combine, now add butter and balsamic vinegar and cook while stirring for 5 minutes.
- Add caraway seeds and salt and pepper and serve with butter lettuce sprinkled over top.