This is definitely the dish that brings up childhood memories. This is pure, delicious comfort food your whole family will love and once you start eating it, it’s hard to stop.
I always considered pasta with fried cabbage as a traditional Croatian dish, indigenous to the northwestern part of Croatia, but then I found out about Polish haluski and Slovak halušky, which is a somewhat similar or almost identical dish.
Since I love traditional comforting food, I always want to know which dish is traditional to which cuisine, but the exact origin of pasta with fried cabbage remained a mystery to me. I can only tell it is an Eastern European meal.
This dish can be made with meat (fried pancetta/bacon or smoked sausage) or in a vegetarian version, which I love the most. There is just something special in old fashioned, plain version of this meal that I can not pair with meat. Fried bacon or sausage somehow mask that sweet, buttery flavor of caramelized cabbage.
I did fry the bacon (in a separate pan, of course 🙂 ), but it was only for photography/visual needs.
Old Fashioned Pasta with Fried Cabbage
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 medium head of cabbage (about 8 cups; 1 1/2 kg), chopped or shredded
- 4 tablespoons butter lard or bacon grease
- 1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar depending on your taste and/or sweetness of cabbage
- 500 grams pasta of your choice (1 lb)
- salt and pepper to taste
- a splash of water
- pancetta/bacon/sausage optional
- Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large deep skillet over medium-low heat. Add chopped onion, sprinkle with 1 tbsp sugar and saute, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, or until softened.
- Add cabbage to skillet, stirring well to incorporate with onion, add 1-2 tablespoons of water and saute, stirring occasionally, until softened and start to caramelize (much more flavor) about 15-20 minutes (if cabbage becomes dry and start to burn, add more water).
- Season with salt and pepper, add 1 more tbsp of sugar if needed. Add cooked pasta and stir well until pasta is heated through.
- Serve hot.
- If using bacon or sausage, fry them first, transfer to a plate, reserving fat from frying.