Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Capunet (Stuffed Cabbage Leaves)

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped fine
1 head Savoy cabbage, 8 outer leaves kept whole and inner leaves finely shredded
400g Italian sausage, skins removed
2 stickes celery, fine diced
1 clove garlic, peeled, diced
200g fresh breadcrumbs
100g Parmesan, freshly grated
salt and black pepper 
for tomato sauce                  
olive oil
1 large onion, fine diced
2 carrots, peeled and fine diced
2 celery sticks, fine diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tins good quality Italian chopped tomatoes
1tsp dried thyme

In a medium frying pan heat a glug of olive oil and saute the onion, celery and garlic for a couple of minutes, without colouring. Saute the sausage meat till lightly browned then add the shredded cabbage and cook for a few minutes till cabbage softened and sausage cooked through. Remove from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs and Parmesan, season  and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Bring a large pan of water to a boil, add some salt then blanch the whole cabbage leaves two at a time for a couple of minutes till they are softened but still have their vibrant, bright green colour. Let them cool slightly.
Lay the blanched cabbage leaves out on a board and then scoop  about a good helping of the sausage and cabbage mixture into each the centre of each cabbage leaf then wrap into a sealed, tight parcel around the filling and then turn  over to stop them coming apart. Using butchers string tie the parcels in a cross to prevent them opening out during baking. Repeat with the other seven cabbage leaves. Rest in fridge for 20 -30 minutes.
Then start making your tomato sauce. Heat a glug of olive oil in a large flat-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic and cook until softened but not coloured, about 5 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes and the thyme then simmer until the sauce has thickened, around 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spoon your tomato sauce into the base of a shallow baking dish then place the stuffed cabbage leaves, folded side down, on to the tomato sauce. Bake for 30 minutes.
Serve the capunet with the tomato sauce drizzled over the top with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan.

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