Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle with Walnut Cream

Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle

Cabbage never seems to be at the top of anyone’s list. I’m speculating here, but I’m willing to wager, you don’t think about cabbage all that much. Sure, it shines in coleslaw and every now and then it snatches attention when stuffed with rice and meat. But outside slaw, the cabbage is rarely the main event. It’s a garnish, a wrap, an afterthought. Well, no more. Today’s Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle sets out to do what the oven did for Brussels sprouts: change minds. So, check your cabbage-related prejudices at the door and approach this be-leafed, cruciferous veg with an open mind and a clear palette.

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Ingredients - Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle with Walnut Cream

Remember when the whole world hated Brussels sprouts? Yeah, me too. They never graced our table when I was a kid because it was clear that no one would eat them. Now I eat them with everything, I even eat them on pizza. But I never attempt to prepare them the “old fashioned way.”

Walnuts Soaking - Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle with Walnut Cream

The human that decided to boil Brussels sprouts should live in infamy. They set those petite cabbages back decades. I swear, it wasn’t until the late-nineties that their powers of caramelization were allowed to shine through. And what a revelation it was! Somewhere around 2001, the Brussels sprout jumped from beneath my dignity to Sunday roast standby. And I figure if we could do this for the Brussels sprout, why can’t we do the same for its cruciferous brethren, the cabbage?

Steeped walnuts - Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle with Walnut Cream

As a Nova Scotian with a painfully Irish last name, my introduction to the cabbage was in the form of Jiggs Dinner. A comforting concoction of boiled corned beef and veg. This has to be one of the original one-pot dinners. The idea is you boil the meat, then you add your chosen vegetables to the pot and boil until tender. Most of the time, these choice vegetables include carrots, potatoes (duh), rutabagas (we actually call these turnips), and, of course, cabbage.

Ground Walnuts and Tahini - Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle with Walnut Cream

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Boiled meat does not sound appetizing. And, I suppose, you’re right. But I actually adore Jiggs, and I swear you would too if you gave it half a chance. But although I love this hallmark dish of my past, I always hated the cabbage component. And for the longest time, I thought I hated cabbage unless it was nearly indiscernible. Translation: So coated in mayo that it escaped all detection apart from its crunch. Yes, I’m a life-long coleslaw addict who thought she hated cabbage. I am not the least bit sure of how that works.

Cabbage Primed for Roasting - Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle with Walnut Cream

In the end, I realized it was the boiling I took issue with. Cabbage, like the noble Brussels sprout should never be boiled. Cabbage, again, like the Brussels sprout, should be given the opportunity to caramelize. And with this in mind, today’s Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle was born.

Roast Cabbage - Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle with Walnut Cream

If you’re questioning your ability to like cabbage, today’s Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle is the test you’re looking for. If you can’t stomach ribbons of caramelized cabbage intermingling with al dente strands of tagliatelle in a delicately sweet and earthy walnut cream, then you well and truly do not like cabbage. I will not bully you into liking it because you are a bonafide cabbage-hater. Case closed. But if you think there might be room in your life for this maligned, forgotten vegetable, this is the dish that will persuade you.

Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle with Walnut Cream

Now, despite using a few familiar ingredients in unfamiliar ways, this dish could not be simpler. Roasting cabbage is a lot like roasting anything else. It starts with a hot oven, a little olive oil and salt and pepper. I added crushed red pepper flakes to my cabbage because I like living on the edge…I know, this is not the edge, but it’s as close as I get.

Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle with Walnut Cream

The walnut cream does require an hour’s patience, but it is an inactive hour. All you have to do is leave some walnuts to steep in hot milk. Nothing about this is hard. Give yourself a manicure, buy something you don’t need online, it doesn’t matter. For 1 hour the world is your oyster.

Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle with Walnut Cream

After that hour (hopefully) flies by, you have walnut infused milk and milk infused walnuts. Now, you’re going to want to separate the two and blitz nuts with hummus’ favorite – tahini. The resulting paste is the base of your sauce and I’m pretty sure you want it already. From there it’s stirring in the milk this, adding a dollop of yogurt that. You know, first day kind of stuff.

Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle with Walnut Cream

Now, you have noticed a healthy smattering of pomegranate on this beast of a dish. Most of the time, I’m not particularly militant about garnishes, I treat them like a suggestion, not a rule. Well, I’m sorry to say, these pomegranate arils are a rule. They really set this whole dish off. Their tart acidity cuts through the heaviness of the sauce and gives the slightly sweet bitterness of the cabbage something to play off of. Don’t skip them! If you do, this Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle will not be the dish I know and love.

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So, that’s everything you need to know about this Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle with Walnut Cream. It’s the winter’s answer to Pasta Primavera and it totally doesn’t suck, unlike winter. So, give it a go! Who knows, you might just make peace with the cabbage.

Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle with Walnut Cream

Enjoy!

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Roast Cabbage Tagliatelle with Walnut Cream

Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 150 g, 5.2 oz walnut halves
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 head green cabbage
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt divided
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 lemons divided
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 500 g, 17.6 oz tagliatelle dried
  • 1 sweet onion diced
  • 1 (540 mL, 18.2 oz) can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 150 g, 5.2 oz feta cheese crumbled
  • 1 pomegranate arils removed
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley coarsely chopped

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Pour the milk and walnuts into a small saucepan and bring to a low boil. Remove the pan from the heat and cover. Leave the nuts to steep for 1 hour.
  • While the nuts are steeping, cut the cabbage lengthwise into 1-inch slices, keeping the core intact. Arrange the cabbage slices on the baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt followed by the crushed red peppers flakes. 
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast for 25-35 minutes or until the edges are charred and the cabbage is tender. Set aside. 
  • Pour the milk and walnut mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Reserve the milk and transfer the walnuts to a large food processor. Add the tahini, the juice of 1 lemon, the garlic, and the remaining salt. Blitz until a smooth paste forms. Set the food processor to low and stream in the sesame oil. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  • Heat a quarter-sized amount of olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute until just translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes or until the chickpeas are tender and the water is almost entirely absorbed.
  • While the chickpeas are cooking, put a large pot of water on to boil. Add salt and the tagliatelle and cook according to the package’s directions. Drain the cooked pasta and reserve a little of the cooking water for later.
  • Add the walnut paste to the chickpeas and onion and saute until the oils begin to release – about 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the reserved milk and bring to a low boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened – about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the core from the roasted cabbage and add the remaining ribbons to the pan. Cook until the cabbage is heated through.
  • Take the skillet off of the heat and stir in the yogurt and the juice of the remaining lemon. Taste and season with salt accordingly. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss to coat. Use as much of the reserved pasta water as is needed to form a silky smooth sauce.
  • Transfer the pasta to a large serving platter and top with feta cheese, fresh parsley, and pomegranate arils. Serve immediately.

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