• Yield: 8 to 10 servings as a first course, 6 as a main

  • Time: 15 minutes prep, 30 minutes cooking, 45 minutes total


  • 1 medium head (about 2 pounds) green cabbage

  • 2 tablespoons >salt

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 ounces smoked prosciutto (called speck in Italian), cut into julienne (if you cannot find speck, use smoked ham)

  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1-1/2 pounds linguine

  • 4 ounces Bitto cheese (see Note), cut into 1/4-inch cubes

  • Pecorino Romano, for grating


1. Bring 8 quarts of water to a boil in a large pasta pot.

2. While the water is heating, remove and discard any tough outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into quarters, remove the core, and cut into 1/2-inch-wide ribbons.

3. Add the salt to the boiling water. Plunge the cabbage into the water and cook until it is soft and pliable, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a spider or a slotted spoon, transfer the cabbage to a colander. Rinse it under cold water, and then set aside.

4. Pour the olive oil into a 14-inch sauté pan or a large, heavy-bottomed pot, and add the prosciutto, spreading it out in a single layer. Cook over medium-low heat, turning it occasionally, until most of the fat has been rendered and the prosciutto is crisp, 5 to 6 minutes.

5. Add the garlic, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook until it is light golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and toss to coat it well. Set aside.

6. Bring the cabbage cooking water back to a boil.

7. Cook the linguine in the boiling water for 1 minute less than the package directions indicate. Just before the pasta is done, carefully ladle 1/4 cup of the cooking water into the pan containing the cabbage mixture.

8. Drain the pasta, add it to the cabbage mixture, and cook for 30 seconds. Then add the Bitto, remove the pan from the heat, and toss for 20 seconds to coat. Pour the mixture into a heated bowl. Serve immediately, and top each serving with freshly grated pecorino.

Note: Bitto is a cow's milk cheese from the Alto Adige. If you can't locate it, substitute Gruyère.

From Molto Batali Simple Family Meals from My Home to Yours by Mario Batali (Ecco, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2011). Copyright © 2011 by Mario Batali, LLC. All rights reserved. Used with permission of the publisher.

Mario Batali is a chef, restaurateur, author and television personality. He has restaurants around the world, including Babbo, which was honored as "Best New Restaurant of 1998" by the James Beard Foundation. Batali has written nine cookbooks, hosted televison shows for the Food Network, and starred in PBS' series "Spain...On the Road Again" and in ABC's talk show "The Chew." The James Beard Foundation named him "Best Chef: New York City" in 2001 and "Outstanding Chef of the Year" in 2005. He is the founder of the Mario Batali Foundation.