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Linguine with Truffle-dried Tomatoes and Braised Cabbage

Linguine with Truffle-dried Tomatoes and Braised Cabbage

Weekly trip to the market.  Sale items: Giant cabbages, flats of very large ripe tomatoes, Washington state apples.   What do all these things have in common?  Well, combine them with linguine, peas and some rich truffle-infused salt, and you will know that this recipe is far better than the sum of its parts.  The parts take a little effort though, so have patience and you will be rewarded!

You will need to make some Truffle-dried Tomatoes and some Braised Cabbage with Washington Apples and Onions. Truffle salt imparts a very subtle richness to the tomatoes that really makes them special for anything they are used in. I use the salt in both the tomatoes and in the pasta water, and it truly changes the experience of this dish, so splurge if you can.  If not, you can replace with regular salt and you’ll still have a tasty entrée.  I’ve used a nice black truffle-infused salt that I buy in small quantities at my local Thriftway, but you can find it online at Amazon, Saltworks, and many other sources. I like to buy in small quantities for freshness and affordability, so look at your favorite specialty foods market.  Once you have these parts, you can quickly assemble this entrée for a cold autumn evening.  Serve with a nice glass of full-bodied red wine or pour some crisp non-alcoholic San Pellegrino Limonata in a beautiful glass and enjoy with your loved one.

Linguine with Truffle-dried Tomatoes and Braised Cabbage

1/2 lb. dried linguine
1-2 tsp. black truffle infused salt (or plain sea salt)
1/2 C sun-dried tomatoes or home-made truffle-dried tomatoes (about 24 pieces or 2 whole tomatoes, cut into 12 pieces each)
4 C braised cabbage with apples and onions, warm
1 C fresh or frozen peas
1 C toasted walnut pieces or textured vegetable protein
salt and pepper
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Bring a pot of truffle-salted water to a full boil.  Cook your pasta until al dente.  Add your peas during the last minute.  Remove from heat and drain, reserving about one cup of the pasta water.  In a large serving bowl, gently toss the pasta with the braised cabbage and dried tomatoes, adding the reserved pasta water as desired.  Test your seasoning, adding more truffle salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Garnish with toasted walnuts and parsley.  I sometimes offer a small dish of crunchy textured vegetable protein to sprinkle on top with a spoon for those that want a little more protein.  It adds a great crunch to the dish, but is optional.

Braised Cabbage with Washington Apples and Onions

Cabbage is on sale this week for $.33/lb.  I love a great autumn braise of cabbage, and because I live in the “Apple state”, and I have easy access to Walla Walla Sweet onions, I’m set.  This recipe is my no-fat vegan adaptation of an old favorite recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Cook With Jamie cookbook.  It is a nummy dish on its own, but is also a nice ingredient in other recipes.  For example, try this Linguine with Truffle-dried Tomatoes and Braised Cabbage.

Braised Cabbage with Washington Apples and Onions

1 TBSP fennel seeds
1-2 C vegetable broth
1 large Walla Walla Sweet onion, peeled and sliced
2 good Washington eating apples, peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces
1 red or green cabbage, core removed and chopped into irregular chunks
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 3/4 C nice balsamic vinegar
1/4 C sugar or maple syrup
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Use a large soup pot, because you will have a lot of volume to start until your vegetables cook down.  Turn on the stove to high and add the fennel seeds, letting them toast for 30 seconds or so.  Add your broth, onions, apples and cabbage, and bring the pot to a full boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook, stirring every 10 minutes or so for about 45 minutes.  Add the balsamic vinegar, sweetener and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and continue cooking on low for another 30 minutes. Your mixture should be cooking way down to a soft delicious mash, or as Jaime Oliver says, “a gorgeously sticky-sweet cabbage dish that you’ll want to eat immediately, straight out of the pan”.  You will have quite a bit of liquid in the pot, so remove the lid now and turn up the heat to let most of that liquid boil off.  You’ll need to tend the pot, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the remaining liquid has reduced to a delicious syrupy consistency.  Test your seasoning again, adding more sugar or salt/pepper as needed.