Savoy cabbage, in my opinion, is pretty much the best cabbage there is. It seems to be rather seasonal here in Southern California. And this is its season. So when I see it, I grab it!
When I saw it today at the Hollywood Farmers Market, grab it I did! Because I have had something in mind for quite some time. I’ve just been waiting for our 80 degree winters to take a quick break. Well today cool temperatures and a bit of rain marked my Sunday at the Farmers Market. In fact, I barely got out of there before the wet weather began. So I rushed right home and started in on one of my favorite cool weather recipes. Baked Italian Style Savoy Cabbage (Cavolo Verza al Forno).
If you pay any attention at all to what I’ve been up to (and I know that you do), then you will have noticed that I’ve had a theme running these past few weeks. Comfort food. It was perhaps best illustrated through my recent Macaroni and Cheese with Lobster recipe. But I also had a classic American-Style Spaghetti and Meatballs. On that day I discussed that, to Americans, pasta served with meatballs is not only classic– it’s comfort food to boot. But, in truth, it’s not authentically Italian. Though I am sure many Italians have been comforted by it. Does that make sense?
Well today, I have a classic (and authentic) Italian comfort food. You guessed it. Baked Italian Style Savoy Cabbage (Cavolo Verza al Forno).
Ok. It’s time to take a culinary exhale. Because after the frenzy of holiday cooking we have all been through I feel it’s time to get back to basics. Something comforting and familiar. Something that just makes you want to cuddle up with the one you love. Something like Mac & Cheese!
In fact a simple dish like Macaroni and Cheese is exactly what I am craving. But simple can be elegant and it can be creative. So I have decided to take old-fashioned Macaroni and Cheese, and rev it up a notch. First I plan to use the very best cheese I can get from Wisconsin. And while yummy yellow cheddar makes a great Mac & Cheese, I have another idea in mind.
I think I’ll add chunks of lobster, as well as creamy mascarpone. It’s more seafood friendly than cheddar. Besides, this combination really helps this familiar, everyday food assume the comfort and luxury of cashmere!
To put my plan in motion I turned to my cookbooks for guidance. But none of the recipes came close to my fantasy of what the dish should be. I wanted chewy pasta suspended in molten cheese, with a chewy, golden-brown cheesy crust on top. And plenty of perfectly cooked lobster tail. I guess I’ll need to develop my own recipe.
One of the best recipes I have ever used for Mac & Cheese comes from Martha Stewart. She starts with a flour-based roux and adds cheese. She calls it Macaroni and Cheese 101. And I gotta admit it’s pretty close to perfection. Except one thing. It relies on cheddar. Now I love cheddar, but feel it may be a bit strong with the delicate flavor and texture of lobster.