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Pasta-Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

Easy to prepare and sure to impress the guests, this dish can be made the day before and kept in the refrigerator. Allow an extra 15-20 minutes to reheat in the oven before serving.

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75g/3oz dried gnocchetti sardi (dumpling shapes) and/or pastina (any tiny shapes)
Dash of olive oil
8 large savoy cabbage leaves, stalks removed

For The Filling:

30ml/2tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 courgettes, grated
4 tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped
50g/2oz chopped walnuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For The Sauce:

400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
60ml/4tbsp dry red wine
150ml/╝pt vegetable stock
1tbsp dried oregano
1 onion, very finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Serves: 4


Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the pasta with a dash of olive oil. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occa­sionally, until tender. Drain and set aside.

Blanch the cabbage leaves in boiling water, then quickly immerse in cold water and drain. Pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper and set aside.

To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the garlic for about 1 minute. Add the grated carrots and cour­gettes and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.

Add the chopped tomatoes, walnuts and pasta. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then set aside to cool.

To make the sauce, place all the ingredi­ents in a saucepan and bring to simmering point. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

To assemble the stuffed cabbage leaves, lay the blanched leaves out on the work sur­face, concave side uppermost, and divide the mixture between the leaves, placing it in the centre of each. Fold the edges of each leaf over to completely encase the filling, securing with a cocktail stick.

Arrange the stuffed leaves in a shallow ovenproof dish and pour the sauce around the edges. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for about 20 minutes, until heated through. Serve immediately, with any extra sauce served separately.

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