Behind the Dish: Noodles with Cabbage

Tonight, we kick off our James Beard project with a dish that is truly exemplary of his approach to American food, an entree that reflects a big chunk of this city’s ethnic heritage. Can you get any more “Cleveland” than Noodles with Cabbage?

This dish, from his cookbook Beard on Pasta, is one he writes of as a creation he invented years ago as a good dish to serve with sausages and beer. It sautées cabbage in butter or bacon fat, then adds a touch of flour to make a roux, to which ground black pepper and light cream are added. Many different kinds of pasta go well with this dish; tonight, we’re using farfalle, or bowtie pasta. And, rather than sausages, our accompanying meat is sautéed pork medallions in a sauce made of horseradish, grainy mustard and cream.

This is a rich, silky, creamy bowl full of flavor with only a hint of spice — the horseradish and mustard add savoriness without heat, and without overpowering the dish. Very comforting on a chilly fall evening.

If this sounds like your idea of Cleveland soul food, come down to the Bistro tonight and satisfy your soul.