13 April 2010

Cabbage and Leeks in Lemon Cream Sauce with Pulse Spaghetti

Dear Reader (if indeed I have a reader),

I am so sorry for not telling you about this sooner.  Yeah, this blog is still pretty young, but I feel as though this should have been the very first thing I ever posted.  The world needs to know about cabbage braised in lemon-cream sauce.

I can just hear the 13-year-old version of myself getting all icked-out by it, but my grown-up pallete thinks this stuff is just HEAVEN.  I swear it's awesome, and kinda just-right for this in between winter/spring thing that's happening in the UK.  The weather has been nice.  Some days are actually SUNNY, if you can believe it.  But the veg is still very wintry - cabbage is still in season here (I secretly think winter vegetables are the only things that can grow on this island), but my taste buds are tired and requiring some summery, lemony brightness, even though the nights still have a considerable iciness to them.

So let's rewind for a second.  A few months ago, I picked up some pulse spaghetti at Tesco.  It's a spaghetti made from chickpeas, lentils and peas, and I was so excited to find something this healthy at Tesco (seriously, a chain grocery store?) and for relatively cheap.  The first time I tried it, I just made a standard tomato-and-fake-mince thing.  It was awful.  The flavours didn't balance well and it left me feeling let down.  The health of the pasta was lost in the haze of... something that tasted just WRONG.

But hating waste as I do, I stuck the rest in the cupboard and hoped for some inspiration.

I've been drained, working on... well... seemingly everything.  Life is at a crux right now.  I had zero fire when I entered my kitchen tonight.  Nothing I wanted to make.  A fridge full of veg but no ideas.  Almost instinctively, I grabbed the cabbage and started chopping.  A bowl full of chopped cabbage, and I still didn't know what to do with it.

Then my eyes hit that weirdo pasta in the back of the cupboard.  Toss it all with olive oil and parmesan?  Maybe.  Out came the pasta.  Then I remembered that I had a container of cream in the fridge, and also some leeks.  I had fresh lemons from making lemon yogurt cupcakes.  Normally I never would have thought to add pasta to the comforty creamed cabbage I fell in love with over at Sassy Radish, as I normally have this with boiled brown rice... but the stuff was already boiling happily away.  Ok, I'd give it a try.  Threw in a little spinach at the end for some colour and voilà!  Something yummy.  So yummy, in fact, that I have a little bit of a hard time believing it, based on my first experience with this pasta.  But it really, really WORKED.

Cabbage and Leeks in Lemon Cream Sauce with Pulse Spaghetti
adapted from Sassy Radish

pulse spaghetti (sorry, don't ask me how much)
about 1/4 of a plain white cabbage, sliced into thin strips
1 leek, chopped
vegetable oil (or other neutral-tasting oil) for sautéing
sea salt & cracked pepper to taste
juice of 1 lemon
single cream (enough to cover the stuff, I'm so bad at measurements sometimes)
handful of spinach, destemmed, rinsed and roughly chopped
parmesan cheese for serving

Cook pulse spaghetti according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, saute cabbage and leek in a large pan in some vegetable oil.  Season with salt and pepepr, and allow the veg to soften and brown slightly.  Add cream and lemon juice, and let the mixture simmer until the cabbage is completely cooked-through.  Add more salt if needed.

Add pulse spaghetti and spinach.  Stir to incorporate and simmer just long enough for the spinach to wilt.  Serve with a dusting of parmesan cheese and freshly-cracked pepper.

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