Beef Cabbage Rolls with Orzo in Tomato Sauce

Nothing cooks up better than savoy cabbage. It’s mild in flavor and doesn’t lose its color or texture after being simmered. It’s not always available, however, so you may have to make do with ordinary green cabbage. Photo by Mark Shapiro.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the whole cabbage for 20 to 25 minutes; drain. When it’s cool enough to handle, separate the leaves carefully. Set aside 8 leaves.

2. Cook the orzo in a pot of boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, until the pasta is tender but firm. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain again and set aside.

3. Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking oil. Add the mushrooms, onion and garlic and cook over medium-high heat for 7 minutes, or until slightly browned. Transfer to a bowl. Add the orzo, ground beef, barbecue sauce, 1 tsp of the dried basil, egg, salt and pepper; mix well.

4. Place about 1/3 cup of the beef-orzo mixture in the center of a cabbage leaf. Fold in the sides and roll it up. Repeat with the remaining filling.

5. Combine the tomatoes and juice, brown sugar, remaining 1 tsp dried basil, water and lemon juice in a food processor; purée. Add the raisins, and pour the mixture into a large non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.

6. Add the cabbage rolls and cook, covered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning the rolls over at the halfway point through the cooking. Serve hot, garnished with the fresh basil.

1 head green savoy cabbage
Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
8 oz lean ground beef
3 Tbsp barbecue sauce
2 tsp dried basil
3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or parsley
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup raisins (any variety)
1 egg
1/2 cup orzo (or any small, shaped pasta)
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar

Nutritional Analysis per Serving

Calories 395
Protein 22 g
Fat 10 g
Saturated Fat 3.9 g
Carbohydrates 53 g
Cholesterol 35 mg
Sodium 331 mg
Fiber 9g

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 110 minutes

Make Ahead: Can be made up to 2 days in advance, covered and refrigerated. Reheat gently before serving.

Serves 4