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Cabbage, white beans and spicy sausage give this hearty one-pan dinner a little bit of everything

This pantry-friendly casserole can be made in about an hour.  (Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post)
This pantry-friendly casserole can be made in about an hour. (Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post)
By Aaron Hutcherson Washington Post

Over the past year, many of us have (re)discovered the wonders of cabbage. Thanks in large part to its long shelf life during a time when many Americans are grocery shopping less frequently, cabbage has found its way into refrigerators. As such, I wanted to develop a new pantry-friendly recipe to help you make use of the cruciferous vegetable.

Fairly neutral with a slight pepperiness when raw, cabbage takes on a subtle sweetness when cooked, which complements the spicy pork and earthy beans in this dish. And when prepared in an oven-safe skillet such as cast iron, this recipe has the added bonus of being a one-pan meal.

Hot Italian sausage does the bulk of the heavy lifting when it comes to flavor in this recipe. I used it more as a seasoning and for its fat than as a substantial contributor to the recipe’s bulk.

(If you prefer to use a turkey-based sausage, note that you might need to use extra olive oil to compensate for the lack of fat.) And because a fairly small amount of sausage is required, this dish is an easy entry point for anyone looking to cut down on meat consumption.

The cabbage and onion pick up tons of flavor from the sausage’s rendered fat. A couple of cans of white beans – or whatever beans you have on hand – add heft and earthiness, while a bit of cream provides richness.

You’ll cover the pan with a mixture of Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs before baking for a cheesy, crunchy and golden topping. (This recipe calls for plain breadcrumbs, but panko would also work.) It all comes together in about an hour, making for a great weeknight dinner option.

Cabbage, Sausage and White Bean Casserole

8 ounces loose hot Italian sausage

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 small head green cabbage (about 2 pounds), quartered, cored and thinly sliced

1 medium yellow onion (about 7 ounces), thinly sliced

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

2 (15.5-ounce) cans white beans, such as cannellini, great Northern or navy, drained and rinsed

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup (2 ounces) plain breadcrumbs

½ cup packed (1 ounce) finely grated Parmesan cheese

Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving (optional)

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.

In a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, combine the sausage with 2 tablespoons of oil. Set the skillet over medium heat and cook, breaking the meat apart with a spoon until the fat has been rendered and the sausage is no longer pink, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate, leaving behind the fat in the skillet.

Add the sliced cabbage and onion, in batches if necessary, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 15 minutes.

Add the beans, heavy cream and the reserved sausage to the skillet and stir to combine. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired. (Transfer to a casserole dish if not using an oven-safe skillet.)

In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle evenly over the cabbage mixture.

Bake for about 15 minutes until bubbling and lightly golden on top. Let it cool slightly, sprinkle with the parsley, if using, and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Make ahead: The dish can be made up until the topping part 1 day in advance and refrigerated. To bake, top with the breadcrumb-Parmesan mixture and cook as instructed, adding a few more minutes to the time to account for the cold filling.

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