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"A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner."

Samuel Johnson (1709-84), English author, lexicographer.

This wonderful recipe came to me by way of a great friend and absolutely excellent cook. Everything she prepares makes your taste buds sing and scream for more. This dish is sure to please everyone.

Preparation Time: 1 1/2 Hours    Serving Size: 6

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 pounds cabbage
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage
  • (1) 16-ounce can whole tomatoes, packed in water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 9 fresh basil leaves
  • Pecorino Romano (for serving)
  • garlic bread (for serving)

Cut onion into 1/4 inch thick slices. Form Italian Sausage into small balls. Slice cabbage in quarters and then in 1/2 inch slices. Set aside. Drain tomatoes and set aside. Sauté onions in butter in small saucepan until soft and just starting to caramelize. About 5 minutes after starting onions, brown sausage balls over medium heat in a large skillet. By the time the sausage is browned, the onions should be done. Transfer onions to the pan with the sausage. Place cabbage slices on top of the sausage/onion mixture. Turn heat down to medium-low. Cabbage will start to lose its moisture and soften. Nudge the mixture from the bottom with a wooden spoon occasionally to help keep from burning. After about 15 minutes, cabbage should start reducing. Crush tomatoes with your hands over the mixture. Add garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper and stir the mixture thoroughly. Simmer for about 20 more minutes. Cabbage should still be slightly firm to the bite. Roll up 3 Basil leaves at a time and either slice thin or use kitchen shears to snip over sauce. Stir and turn heat off. Cook penne al denté. Use a spider to strain penne into the skillet with the sauce. Stir well and add pasta water if necessary. Serve with Pecorino Romano cheese and garlic bread.