Little cabbage ‘suitcases’ (Valigini)
‘Valigini’ means ‘little suitcases’ in Italian. You may be surprised to find ground nutmeg mixed in with chopped meat but wait until you taste this combination – you’ll love it says Good Carbs, Bad Carbs author, Johanna Burani. In northern Italy, nutmeg partners well with a variety of ingredients. Instead of steamed cabbage leaves, try putting this mixture into the cavity of steamed zucchini, sliced lengthwise with pulp removed.
Serves 6 (2 valigini per person)
12 savoy cabbage leaves (carefully removed from base of cabbage)
1 lb (450 g) 90% lean chopped meat
7 large sprigs parsley, leaves only
1 large celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup plain bread crumbs (use stale low GI bread)
½ cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
- Wash and steam the cabbage leaves for 2–3 minutes or until they appear wilted. Set aside.
- Place the chopped meat in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for 15 seconds (25 pulses). Add the parsley and celery and process for another 15 seconds.
- In a large, heavy skillet heat the oil and garlic, add the meat mixture (press with fork to break up mixture into very small crumbled pieces) and sauté for 5 minutes on medium-high heat taking care it doesn’t burn. Add in the spices and mix well.
- Return the meat mixture to a clean food processor bowl. Whiz for 1 minute adding the breadcrumbs and grated cheese through the food tube as it is processing.
- Line up the cooked cabbage leaves on the counter, place a rounded tablespoon of the meat mixture (about 1¼ oz/35 g) on the lower half of each leaf and gently roll up, taking care to close in sides as you roll. Secure with a toothpick.
- Add ½–1 cup homemade tomato sauce to a large Dutch oven or sturdy casserole and heat gently. Arrange the pieces to cover the bottom. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, turning each piece over after 7–8 minutes. Serve hot.
Photo: Sergio Burani
Per serve (2 pieces)
Energy: 1268 kJ/ 302 Cals; Protein 25 g; Fat 17 g (includes 6 g saturated fat and 67 mg cholesterol); Carbs 12 g; Fibre 3 g