Caramelized Cabbage on Creamy Polenta

  • Active Time 20m
  • Total Time 1h 35m
  • Rating ****

Fills one 9-inch pie dish; serves six

A good-quality aged cheese is wonderful in this dish. Taste the cheese before you use it to be sure it isn't too salty. If you're doubling the recipe, double the cooking time. You can keep the "pie" hot over simmering water for up to half an hour, but it doesn't reheat well.


  • For the Cabbage:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound chopped pancetta
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small sprig rosemary, chopped
  • 2 pounds green, white or Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt; more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • About 3 tablespoons dry white wine (or water); more if needed
  • 1/4 cup water, or more
  • A few drops balsamic vinegar
  • For the Polenta:
  • 1 cup medium-coarse cornmeal, preferably organic stone-ground
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 ounces finely grated Asiago or Pecorino Romano


TO PREPARE THE CABBAGE: Heat the 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a wide, deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the pancetta, garlic and rosemary and sauté until the pancetta and garlic soften, about 4 minutes. Add the cabbage, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the pepper, wine, and the water; toss to coat thoroughly. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 1 hour, adding a little more water or white wine whenever the cabbage seems too dry or begins to brown too fast, checking about every 5 minutes. The cabbage should stew slowly and brown lightly. After about 1 hour, uncover and cook, stirring, until the cabbage is meltingly tender, lightly caramelized, medium brown and somewhat dry to the touch, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, taste, and adjust seasonings.

TO PREPARE THE POLENTA: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In an oiled 3-qt. nonstick ovenproof skillet, combine the cornmeal, water, olive oil and salt; stir briefly. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, give the polenta a good stir, and return the pan to the oven to bake another 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and half of the cheese. Pour the polenta into a greased 9-inch heatproof dish, cover evenly with the cabbage, and scatter the remaining cheese on top. Bake until the tips of the cabbage are brown and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Recipe reprinted by permission of <I>Fine Cooking<. All rights reserved.

RecID 5857

nutrition information per serving

325 calories; 20g total fat; 30mg cholesterol; 1030mg sodium; 25g carbohydrates; 5g fiber; 12g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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