Toasted cabbage noodles with caraway & dill yogurt sauce

photo of a flower porcelain dish filled with purple cabbage, pasta, dill and greek yogurt

This recipe is nearly full-credits to the ingenious Kayla at theoriginaldish.com. My first sampling of it was so epic that my boyfriend and I made it again a few nights later. Like any cooking reenactment, we ad libbed on the ingredients. The end result was something that fit our palates and the ordinary rotation of what’s in our shelves.

On first bite, we knew this dish was a teleportation device to eastern Europe. I was immediately reminded of the meals I had in Hungary and the flavors I found in the warm Czech dishes in Prague. The combination of cabbage, a generous portion oil, toasty caraway, and a refreshing yogurt edge made this plate a walk down memory lane.

My trips to Budapest and the eastern Hungarian countryside are many. My now US-based grandpa was born and raised in Sokorópátka, a small village outside of Gyor. He was also a chef for most of his life. His knack for cooking was his passage way out of a revolution-torn Hungary during the Uprising against Soviet-imposed policies in 1956.

An aerial view from Budapest, Hungary during the fall season with colourful leaves on the Danube
Budapest, Hungary, overlooking the Danube, 2016
Budapest, Hungary from a sky view overlooking the Danube and the Parliament
Budapest, Hungary, overlooking the Danube

He skipped through Austria and even made it to Holland before heading off to the promise of a job at a country club in Winnetka, IL, just north of Chicago. Believe me when I tell you, the club was the inspiration for the movie Caddyshack. Director Brian Doyle-Murray had worked there as a caddy, along with brother and co-star Bill Murray when they were teenagers. You can bet our family photo collection is incomplete without sufficient photos with Bill Murray to prove it.

My dad, his brothers, and our whole extended family worked at that club for over 50 years. It was as much a home away from home as it was a place for starting life anew in a new country. It’s where my grandma Anne found refuge after leaving her native Ireland with her twin sister. The promise of a job and a marriage prospect pulled her to the club and to my grandpa.

It’s an epic story and one I’m reminded of each time I experience a touch of something Irish or Hungarian. Long story short, this dish took me there.

Hand holding a Dutch porcelain dish with

Toasted cabbage noodles with caraway & dill yogurt sauce

As for the noodles, the traditional choice would be egg noodles to imitate the traditional Hungarian way. You can make your own, which I plan to attempt next time through an easy combination of eggs + water + flour. There are plenty of alternatives as well. Elbow macaroni will do just fine as well as gemelli type pasta. We even used whole wheat and loved how the hearty flavor combined with the caraway seed.

Toasted pumpernickle rye bread is the perfect compliment to this caraway-studded dish. See the final step.

Serves 2

Recipe adapted from theoriginaldish

Ingredients

  • 170 g elbow macaroni, whole wheat
  • 20 g olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp caraway seed
  • 170 g fresh purple cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 4 dollops greek yogurt, full fat ~ 10%
  • fresh dill, for garnish
  • fresh chives, for garnish
  • flaky sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • pumpernickle rye bread, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat a pan with 5g of the olive oil and add the caraway seed. Allow to toast for a few minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add the cabbage and a healthy bit of salt. Continue to cook until caramelized.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the noodles and heat until cooked through.
  4. Transfer the cabbage to a small bowl. Add remaining 15 g olive oil to the heated pan.
  5. After draining the cooked pasta and rinsing with cold water, pour the noodles into the pan with the oil. Toss with the oil and keep in the pan to crisp for the next 10 minutes or so, stirring every so often.
  6. Add the cabbage back to the pan, and once heated through, salt to taste.
  7. Transfer the cabbage noodles to your serving bowls and top with a generous dollop of the greek yogurt and fresh dill, fresh chives and pepper.
  8. For extra serving enjoyment, toast a few slices of pumpernickle rye bread with olive oil and sea salt. Smear greek yogurt and fresh dill and chives on top.
  9. A glass of red wine also doesn’t hurt. Enjoy!

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