Purple Cabbage Pasta

Last week at the farmer’s market, I accidentally bought a purple cabbage, mistaking it for radicchio. DUH!

So what to do with a head of purple CABBAGE? I recalled Bittman’s coleslaw piece from a few weeks back, but who wants to make coleslaw in the middle of winter? HELL-O!

I needed something to last me all week- for lunches and late nights. I decided to whip me up some pasta with purple cabbage – have you ever heard of such a thing? Bizarre, right? I looked for anything complimentary to cabbage in the fridge- I came up with a can of tuna, romano, frozen peas and garlic. That’s it!


Ok, so this is the easiest thing ever. Just sautee garlic in olive oil, add the cut cabbage, stir in the pan till it is cooked, but still crispy. Grind some fresh pepper, salt, and sprinkle over some red pepper flakes if you fancy. Add the tuna, sautee for a few minutes. Then add the peas for color–purple and green together is delightful! I’ve been obsessed with peas since Babbo’s pea/mint raviolis, and put it in all my pasta dishes now.


Then stir in the pasta. Doesn’t matter what kind of pasta, but for the sake of leftovers, I chose fusilli.


Shave some romano on top, et voila! Purple cabbage pasta. And yes, the pasta will turn a slight shade of purple- but it’s kinda fun. The cabbage is so nice and sweet, and the crunch is crucial.


I tweaked the version the other night- for all you tuna non-believers. This time with sausage instead of tuna, and orecchiette. Plus I had some grape tomatoes in the fridge, so I added that as well. I tried caramelizing onions for it and my poor Ruby (my prized Les Creuset pot) burned to hell. Shit, shit shit!!! Can someone please teach me how to caramelize onions?


This dish was good, but I let the cabbage cook for too long so it didn’t have the crunch that makes this dish special. The caramelized onions added a nice sweetness though, and the tomatoes a tartness.

So now you know what to do when you accidentally buy a head of purple cabbage!

PS- De Cecco Orecchiette is my new fave pasta. Try it!

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6 Responses to “Purple Cabbage Pasta”

  1. Dawn Eshelman Says:

    Okay, I just have to say, I LOVE RED CABBAGE! And your dish, Kayoko, makes me happy. I thought I would also share my favorite thing to do with red cabbage.
    This is so simple, but somehow surprisingly satisfying and yummy:
    Cut up cabbage to the size of potato chips.
    Add plenty of olive oil, lemon juice, and some good salt.
    If it’s your lucky day and you have some basil lying around, toss it in there.
    Eat it with your fingers in front of the boob tube for some healthy junk food. Add a frothy stout to drink and it takes me back to a breezy picnic on San Juan Island. Also great as a side dish that is easy (no cooking at all), yum-o, and visually pleasing, esp. if you take care to slice the cabbage beautifully.
    Also, I love the slightly cooked red cabbage salad from Chez Panisse’s cook book… apples, goat cheese, walnuts, etc.

  2. Dawn Eshelman Says:

    Okay, I just have to say, I LOVE RED CABBAGE! And your dish, Kayoko, makes me happy. I thought I would also share my favorite thing to do with red cabbage.
    This is so simple, but somehow surprisingly satisfying and yummy:
    Cut up cabbage to the size of potato chips.
    Add plenty of olive oil, lemon juice, and some good salt.
    If it’s your lucky day and you have some basil lying around, toss it in there.
    Eat it with your fingers in front of the boob tube for some healthy junk food. Add a frothy stout to drink and it takes me back to a breezy picnic on San Juan Island. Also great as a side dish that is easy (no cooking at all), yum-o, and visually pleasing, esp. if you take care to slice the cabbage beautifully.
    Also, I love the slightly cooked red cabbage salad from Chez Panisse’s cook book… apples, goat cheese, walnuts, etc.

  3. Sonja Says:

    Did you use fresh tuna? I use oil packed tuna in pasta sometimes and it’s so good. Hahaha I’m such a college student.

  4. Sonja Says:

    Did you use fresh tuna? I use oil packed tuna in pasta sometimes and it’s so good. Hahaha I’m such a college student.

  5. kayoko Says:

    i only use tuna packed in olive oil- they sell the decent “Genova” line at Trader Joes, where it’s only 99cents, which is unheard of. what do you use?

  6. kayoko Says:

    i only use tuna packed in olive oil- they sell the decent “Genova” line at Trader Joes, where it’s only 99cents, which is unheard of. what do you use?

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