As you may have noticed, I eat little or no meat (nothing that knows its mommy) or seafood (stress over fisheries collapse), even though a lot of what goes in this blog is inexpensive ways to supply meat to a growing daughter and a husband. However, I do have a some great vegetarian recipes that I love, and now is the season for one of them. A while back, I wanted an easy, low carb way to enjoy the flavor and texture of butternut squash stuffed ravioli. Although I've actually made ravioli myself, it's definitely an activity for a Sunday afternoon when you have nothing else to do; something that happens to me once every five years or so.
So, looking for an easier, and lower carb way to enjoy these flavors, I hit upon the notion of combining the butternut squash with a cabbage roll. Cabbage rolls can be found in english, german, scandinavian, polish, etc., etc. cuisine, usually stuffed with ground meat and potatoes. This dish is much lighter and has a more sophisticated flavor. Like any cabbage roll, you have to fiddle around with boiling or steaming the leaves, but otherwise it is easy. So, even though the recipe looks long and complicated - just dive in!
Start by baking a butternut squash; cut it in half, scrape out the seeds, and place it cut side down on a baking sheet or pan which is lightly oiled (if you are feeling lazy, line it with aluminum foil, and you won't have to wash it). Roast at 350-400F for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your squash, and your oven temperature. When it's soft, take it out, cool, peel off the skin and mash the squash, and reserved for the following recipe!
1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked, mashed butternut squash
1/2 cup ricotta or fresh cream cheese if you can get it (do not use the stuff in the silver package!) I used Zingermans Creamery cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
5-6 large fresh sage leaves slivered and chopped fine, or 1 tsp dried sage leaves
1 small to medium onion diced
1-2 cloves garlic minced fine
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until golden. Combine the cooked onion and garlic with the other ingredients and blend everything together well, beating with a wooden spoon or a mixer. If your squash is a little dry, you will want to use a mixer and may want to add some milk or an extra egg. After you mix up the filling, set aside as you get ready to make the rolls.To make the rolls
1 head cabbage
3/4 cup half and half or cream
Oil a glass baking dish large enough for the 12-16 rolls you will get from this amount of stuffing. Take a large head of regular cabbage, or preferably Savoy cabbage. It has prettier, more delicate leaves, as well as a slightly more delicate flavor than green cabbage. Plus, it is a bit easier to work with. Boil water in a large stew pan, or vegetable steamer. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Working three or four leaves at a time, cut the stem of a leaf where it joins the center of the cabbage head, and gently lift from the stem end and the leaf end to remove the entire leaf. Place in the boiling water, and remove the next leaf, etc. until you get to three or four. Remove the first couple of leaves and cool in the ice water, remove, and pat dry. Open a leaf and place 2-3 TB of filling in it (depending on leaf size), then roll up the leaf creating a nice closed package around the filling. Lay it seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat the cutting, steaming, quenching and filling process until all the filling is used up. Pour the cream or half and half over the rolls, and place in a 350F oven and bake for 20-30 minutes.
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1 small or medium tomato chopped small
1/2 cup cream or half and half
salt and pepper
Saute the garlic in the olive oil in a small sauce pan, add the cream or half and half, and the tomato with salt and pepper to taste. Cook gently until you get a creamy tomato sauce. Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls when you take them out of the oven. Serve the cabbage rolls with a whole wheat pasta like fusilli or farfalle. Enjoy! It is well worth the effort, and remember, it would have been way more work to make ravioli! Dee Dee