Cavoli Ripiene (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)


Last weekend, my girlfriend and I attended a fundraiser, Taste for Nourish, a non-profit dedicated to providing family and community support for children with feeding challenges. These children are unable to eat a nutritious diet by mouth due to medical problems, autism spectrum disorders or sensory challenges. For more information or to make a donation visit their site. The event was held at the Fox Theater, in the heart of downtown Tucson. This historic theater, dating back to 1929, originally provided movies and vaudeville performances and was the perfect venue. The evening included a silent auction, refreshments and the movie, “Fried Green Tomatoes”.  On the way home, Ruth and I talked endlessly about the comfort food of the south and our family favorites. By the time we returned home we decided our next dinner would be a “Retro” dinner party. She will bring her special homemade macaroni and cheese, I will make these stuffed cabbage rolls, pineapple upside down cake … and of course, my fried green tomatoes.


  • 1 green cabbage
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


Cut out the core (about 2-inches) of the cabbage.
In a large pot, cover cabbage with water, bring to a boil. After a few minutes the leaves should be limp enough for you to separate and peel off. (You may have to repeat this process to remove all of the leaves).



Combine the egg, water, rice, onions and seasonings, mix well. Add the beef, mix thoroughly using your hands if necessary.
Place about 1/4 cup of the meat mixture in the center of each leaf, roll and fold in sides, place in a large skillet.





Repeat with the remaining filling and cabbage leaves (depending on the size of cabbage, you may end up with extra cabbage, which I saute with a little olive oil, salt and pepper).



In a small bowl, combine the tomato sauce, brown sugar and lemon juice, pour over the cabbage rolls. Simmer, covered for 1 hour.
Served with a bit of the sauce, these little bundles of comfort are good all by themselves or served alongside their popular friend of the same decade, macaroni and cheese.

Stracoto (Italian Pot Roast)