The first time we were stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Ed was training in the F-4, and I was a college student. His parents drove down from Pennsylvania to visit us. I’d been a guest in their home before, but it was the first time we’d hosted them, so we broke out of student mode long enough to give out townhouse a thorough cleaning in anticipation of their visit. Like moms everywhere, his mother had brought the fixings to cook for us the first night. One of the things she prepared was Łazanki z Białą Kapustą (Polish Noodles and Cabbage). As we were cleaning up the kitchen after the feast she’d prepared, my mother-in-law asked how to lift up the top of the stove to clean under the burners. I had to confess that I didn’t know; it was wasn’t something I’d done in the two months we’d bene living there. Busted! To be fair, we didn’t cook a lot back then. An occasional Sunday dinner or omelettes for his classmates after a Friday night at the Officer’s Club were the extent of our meal prep.
Recently, Mike from PA asked if I could reconnect him with a noodle and cabbage dish his grandmother used to make. I hope Łazanki z Białą Kapustą (Polish Noodles and Cabbage) will come close to what he remembers. As with all recipes, there are as many variations as there are cooks. To me, a key trait is that the dish is generously seasoned with ground black pepper. Sometimes, my mother-in-law would add a can of sauerkraut that she’d rinsed and drained. I think it would also be delicious if you added sautéed mushrooms, and everything goes better with kielbasa. You might slice and saute the kielbasa and add it to the noodle and cabbage mixture or serve it on the side. Now that I’ve lived in Poland and gotten a feel for typical seasonings, I like to add a bay leaf an a couple of whole allspice berries.
As we enjoyed this for a quick dinner last dinner, Ed said, “you know, this would be tasty for breakfast too.” Whenever you decide to serve it, I hope you’ll enjoy Łazanki z Białą Kapustą (Polish Noodles and Cabbage).
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 small onions, sliced
- 1 head white cabbage, quartered, cored removed, and sliced thin
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 whole allspice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 14 ounce can sauerkraut, rinsed and drained (optional)
- package wide noodles, prepared according to package directions
- Add butter and oil to a Dutch oven over medium high heat
- Add sliced onions and cabbage, bay leaf and allspice, salt and pepper
- Cook, stirring and scrapping the bottom frequently, until the cabbage is tender (it will cook down to about ⅓ of the original volume)
- (Add the optional drained sauerkraut if you're using it)
- Add the cooked (and drained) noodles, toss to combine
Add sautéed sliced mushrooms