Cavolo e Pane

(Cabbage and Bread)


1 Lg. Cabbage - Savoy if possible
8 Cloves Garlic - Chopped
3 Cups Bread - stale and broken into 1/2-3/4 inch pieces
1/2 Cup Olive Oil - Extra Virgin
Q.B.   Salt and pepper
1 Tsp. Pepperoncino flakes - optional
This recipe is the one used by my Mother during the time I was growing up.  She still makes it now, and it is as good as ever.  Occasionally, I add chopped Pancetta or Prosciutto to it, but she asks why I want to ruin a perfectly good dish?  She has a point as this is truly a dish from the "Cucina delle povere"  --  a dish of the poor.  Poor only in the cost of its ingredients because while simple, it is arguably one of the best dishes on this site!


Cut the head of cabbage in half, then in quarters.   Remove the core, and slice each quarter into 1/2 inch slices.  Chop the slices in half. 

Soak the bread in either water or milk.  The preference is yours.  When all of the bread is soft including the crust, squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  Set aside.

Saute the garlic in 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil.  Use a fry pan large enough to hold all of the cabbage.  When the garlic just begins to brown, add all of the cabbage to the pan. If using it, sprinkle the Pepperoncino over the cabbage at this time and mix well.   Add 1/2 the remaining olive oil, and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.  Stir every 10 minutes or so to keep the mixture from burning. 

After 30 minutes, add the bread to the cabbage, and stir to thoroughly mix the cabbage and the bread.  Cook until the cabbage and the bread have attained approximately the same color (My mother's instructions).  This should take about 30 additional minutes.   The heat can be turned up to high when the color is correct to allow a crust to form on the pan side of the cabbage and bread. 

Serve this dish hot with a good red wine.  It can be a side dish, or as it is in our family the main course.  It is just as good, perhaps even better as leftovers.  An Italian chef who used to visit us, more often than not went to the refrigerator immediately upon entering the house to see of we had any left for him to eat...

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Last updated on:  02/01/02 05:05:57 PM