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Caramelized Cabbage on Creamy Polenta

Daniel Proctor

Servings: Fills one 9-inch pie dish; six.

A good-quality aged cheese is wonderful in this dish. Taste the cheese before you use it to be sure it isn’t too salty. If you’re doubling the recipe, double the cooking time. You can keep the “pie” hot over simmering water for up to half an hour, but it doesn’t reheat well.


  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. chopped pancetta
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small sprig rosemary, chopped
  • 2 lb. green, white, or Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly shredded
  • 2 tsp. salt; more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • About 3 Tbs. dry white wine (or water); more if needed
  • A few drops balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup medium-coarse cornmeal, preferably organic stone-ground
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 2 oz. finely grated Asiago or Pecorino Romano

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 240
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 110
  • Fat (g): 12
  • Saturated Fat (g): 4
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6
  • Cholesterol (mg): 25
  • Sodium (mg): 1130
  • Carbohydrates (g): 25
  • Fiber (g): 6
  • Protein (g): 11


Prepare the cabbage:

  • Heat the 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil in a wide, deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the pancetta, garlic, and rosemary and sauté until the pancetta and garlic soften, about 4 minutes. Add the cabbage, 1/2 tsp. of the salt, the pepper, wine, and 1/4 cup water; toss to coat thoroughly. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 1 hour, adding a little more water or white wine whenever the cabbage seems too dry or begins to brown too fast, checking about every 5 minutes (the cabbage should stew slowly and brown lightly). After about 1 hour, uncover and cook, stirring, until the cabbage is meltingly tender, lightly caramelized, medium brown, and somewhat dry to the touch, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, taste, and adjust seasonings.

Meanwhile, prepare the polenta:

  • Heat the oven to 350°F. In an oiled 3-qt. nonstick ovenproof skillet, combine the cornmeal, 4 cups water, the 1/2 tsp. olive oil, and the remaining 1-1/2 tsp. salt; stir briefly. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, give the polenta a good stir, and return the pan to the oven to bake another 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and half of the cheese. Pour the polenta into a greased 9-inch heatproof dish, cover evenly with the cabbage, and scatter the remaining cheese on top. Bake until the tips of the cabbage are brown and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.


Rate or Review

Reviews (5 reviews)

  • Maureen9788 | 01/06/2015

    This is a dish that I will definitely make again. I rarely deviate from a recipe but the piece of Asiago I bought was about 4 ounces so I just used it all. Otherwise I followed it and it was amazing!

  • MidwesternFoodie | 09/15/2014

    I made significant changes but kept the essence of the recipe and it was wonderful. I used a large green cabbage & a small purple cabbage (my dutch oven was 3/4 full!). Used bacon instead of pancetta, chicken broth instead of wine. Due to the huge amount of cabbage, it took about 2 hours to caramelize. I made mashed potatoes instead of polenta (YUM!). Put it all in a 9x13 casserole (baking time was the same) and finished it with a few minutes under the broiler to brown the cheese. Wow! Long prep time but a wonderful autumn comfort food!

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