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It’s All About Balance and Building Flavors: An Interesting Pasta Dish

May 29, 2013 by Joan Nova in Italian, Pasta, Recipe Development, Vegetables | 13 Comments

It’s the way I like to eat … balanced food groups and balanced flavors. Pasta with cabbage may seem a strange combination to some. Stranger yet, perhaps, is the addition of raisins. But, trust me, it works. In fact, it more than works.

A simple sauteed/braised cabbage is a surprisingly delicious accompaniment to pasta. 

I’m a big fan of layering flavors. I almost NEVER cook vegetables with water. I view it as a flavor diluting agent and opt for broth or other methods of cooking, like roasting or sauteing versus boiling.

The raisins in this dish, although only a few, are a wonderful balance to the salt (cheeses), smokiness (bacon) and tartness (tomatoes) and create a multi-level combination that pleases. Every.single.time!

And, of course, adding a few finishing touches, like freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano and ground black pepper do exactly what they’re supposed to — finish the dish!


Cheesy Pasta, Cabbage, Bacon, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Golden Raisins
It's all about balance!
Serves: 2
  • 1 cup red cabbage shredded
  • 6 Brussels Sprouts shredded
  • 1 tsp sun-dried tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tsp crumbled bacon
  • 1 tsp golden raisins
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 sprig of parsley
  • dry seasonings
  • ¼ cup blue cheese
  • fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • fresh grated black pepper
How To
  1. Saute cabbage, garlic, bacon, tomatoes and raisins in a little olive oil.
  2. Salt and add additional dry seasonings like a little oregano or thyme.
  3. Add chicken broth and braise till cabbage starts to soften (but not mushy, about 10-minutes).
  4. Boil pasta, drain and add to pan.
  5. Toss over medium heat.
  6. Finishing Touch: Add blue cheese, freshly minced parsley and lots of cracked black pepper.


NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. bellini says:

    The perfect balance and portion sizing as well Joan.

  2. I think the combo of raisins and cabbage would be delicious! This sounds like the kind of dish to make using every day pantry items, I usually have all of those ingredients on hand. When I’ve had cabbage with pasta though, it’s usually Asian inspired in a stir fry. YUM!

    I can’t remember the last time I cooked a veggie in water either! It’s like you boil away the flavor.
    La Diva Cucina recently posted..It’s PICNIC TIME!My Profile

  3. Joan,
    This looks fabulous to me!
    I love greens w/ raisins in pasta, so why not cabbage?
    It’s also a very pretty dish. Will try it.

  4. Norma - Platanos, Mangoes and Me! says:

    I had to laught at your comment to Val…I would go for two servings of this also. Outside of the ingredients, it’s such an elegant dish.

  5. I appreciate your comments on layering and balancing flavors–and couldn’t agree more. another interesting (and pretty) dish from you–thanks!
    Victoria of Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Moroccan Textures and a RecipeMy Profile

  6. love it, except you know….S&S
    South Florida Food and Wine recently posted..Dinner at Canyon Southwest Cafe Fort LauderdaleMy Profile

  7. Vicki Fillet says:

    love this dish! and love the print option!
    thank you Joan!

  8. This sounds so good and looks wonderful. Believe it or not but in the South of Italy especially Sicily they put raisins in pasta dishes. One in particular is anchovy sauce with pine nuts and rasins. Love it, as it adds a slightly sweet flavor to the otherwise salty anchovies. In some cases it really works. Leave it up to the Italians, they put just about everything in pasta and I’m all for that. Love the presentation and colors.
    Patricia Durr recently posted..My Favorite Season – Graubunden SwitzerlandMy Profile

  9. Yum! What a delicious and colorful combination of flavors. I might even need thirds!!
    sandra axelrod recently posted..Memorial Day Cookout St. Louis Style RibsMy Profile

  10. Looks fabulous Joan. I would enjoy the raisins as well in it.
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Luau at the Lake – 4th Annual Blogger Get-togetherMy Profile

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