Stuffed Cabbage (Cavolo Ripieno di Carne)
Recipe type: Vegetables
Serves: 6
  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 2 slices stale Italian bread; cut into chunks
  • 1/2 Cup beef broth or water
  • 8 Tablespoons butter (1 stick)
  • 1/4 Cup minced onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground veal or beef (or a combination)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
  • 1/4 Cup chopped fresh parsley
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, parboil the cabbage for about 8 minutes, or until the leaves are wilted. Drain and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, soak the bread in the beef broth or water for 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Squeeze dry with your hands and set aside.
  3. In a heavy skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter and saute the onion very slowly over low heat until deep brown and almost caramelized. Remove the onion to a large bowl. Add the ground meat to the skillet and brown over medium-high heat. Add the meat to the onion, along with the herbs, spices, and bread. Mix well with your hands, but do not overmix.
  4. Using about 3 tablespoons of the meat mixture, form an elongated roll about 3 inches long. Set on a plate and continue to form rolls with the remaining meat mixture. Set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Remove the core from the cabbage with a knife and carefully peel off the leaves, one at a time, keeping them whole if possible.
  7. Place a meat roll on the bottom of a cabbage leaf, fold over the sides, and roll up like an egg roll; secure with toothpicks. Repeat with the remaining meat rolls. Place the cabbage rolls seam-side down in a baking dish in a single layer. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and pour over the cabbage rolls. Add 1/2 cup water. Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Serve immediately.
  8. Note: These were always served with boiled potatoes. They can be frozen for future use after baking, or they can be baked a day ahead and reheated.
This recipe yields 6 servings.

Comments: Cabbage was another one of those dreaded vegetables that we children seemed to get plenty of. My mother made stuffed cabbage, boiled cabbage, baked cabbage, and a meatball and cabbage soup. For stuffed cabbage, she carefully parboiled the cabbage first, just to loosen the leaves from the core. This made the leaves pliable and easy to roll.

Source: Ciao Italia at

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 4 Calories; trace Fat (10.2% calories from fat); trace Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 2mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Vegetable; 0 Fat.

NOTES : Recipe from "Ciao Italia" by Mary A. Esposito, (Morrow Cookbooks, 1991)
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