Jessica Holmes’ Recipe for Toasted Penne Pasta With Braised Cabbage and Goat Cheese

California Cooking
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In this unique and interesting twist on pasta, cooked penne gets browned and “toasted” in a skillet, making for a crunchy and savory dish. This is an online exclusive segment for KTLA’s California Cooking: Episode 7.


-one head of red cabbage, quartered, cored and sliced into thin ribbons
-one half of a large onion, thinly sliced
-half of a one-pound box of penne pasta
-about 2 oz. goat cheese
-olive oil
-2 tablespoons of butter
-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar, or a mixture
-1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
-grated parmesan

How to Make:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a 4- to 6-quart pot. Once water is boiling, add a large pinch of salt and pour penne pasta in. Cook the pasta for two minutes less than the suggested cooking time on the box – you want it slightly undercooked.
  2. Put large skillet on medium-high heat, and add about 1 tablespoon each olive oil and butter together. Add onion and cabbage to skillet. Add a pinch of salt. Let cook until it gets brown and soft, stirring occasionally.
  3. Strain pasta a couple minutes before the cooking time on the box. Reserve about a half-cup of pasta water. Return the cooked pasta to the pot you boiled it in, and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to the penne. Mix.
  4. Once cabbage is soft and browned, add vinegar to the skillet. Add garlic, stir well and cook another minute or so until fragrant. Remove ingredients from skillet to a large serving bowl.
  5. Turn heat to medium-high under skillet. Add about a quarter-cup of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter again together. Add cooked pasta to the skillet in a single layer. Don’t stir; let it brown.
  6. Once penne is browned and can be lifted off the pan with a spatula, add the pasta to the bowl with the cabbage. Mix well. Add about seven dollops of goat cheese and mix gently.  Pour 1/4 cup of pasta water in the bowl, just enough so that the toasted pasta isn’t thick and dry, and mix again. The toasted penne should end up a bit crunchy and creamy. Top with grated parmesan.

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