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Pasta with Cabbage and Caramelized Onions

Serves 6 to 8

This pasta and cabbage recipe is an easy and healthy Italian-inspired main dish. It is especially good with whole wheat or multigrain pasta. The pancetta adds flavor, but can be omitted for an equally delicious vegetarian dish, using extra olive oil to cook the onions. The recipe can be made in any amount.


Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the pancetta over medium-high heat. Sauté until the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove the pancetta and drain on paper towels. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan or, if necessary, add more olive oil to equal about 2 tablespoons. Add the onions, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one more minute. Return the pancetta to the pan and add the cabbage, oregano, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar. Stir well. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook over medium heat until very tender, about 45 minutes, stirring often and adding a little more water if it dries out.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Add to the pan when the cabbage is done; toss well to combine for about 3 minutes. Serve hot, passing cheese separately.