You can use pretty much any green cabbage here - savoy, napa, or even shredded brussels sprouts if you have some to use up. On the pasta front I call for farro tagliatelle, but you can substitute a wide range of pasta shapes and types. For example, fettuccine, penne, broken lasagne, etc. And you can experiment beyond farro - whole wheat pastas, buckwheat, spelt, they'll all work nicely here. Lastly, I don't hammer this point to death down below, but do your best to salt/season each of the casserole components as you go. Each should taste great on its own.
1 pound small waxy potatoes, for example Yukon gold, fingerling, Yellow Finn
fine grain sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
2 medium leeks, trimmed, thinly sliced, well washed
3 garlic gloves, minced
1/2 medium head of cabbage (about 1 lb / 16 oz / 450g), cored and shredded
1/2 cup / 120 ml vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
16 fresh sage leaves
12 ounces / 340 g dried farro tagliatelle, broken into 3-inch segments
4 ounces soft-rind, creamy cheese, cut into tiny cubes (for example, I used this Ardrahan farmhouse cheese, but Stracchino, fontina, or tallegio could all work too)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for cooking the pasta.
In the meantime, in a separate pan, cover the potatoes with water and a few big pinches of salt. Simmer until just tender, somewhere between 30 - 45 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain well, then slice into 1/4-inch rounds, toss gently with a bit of salt. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until soft, a few minutes. Stir in the garlic. Stir in the cabbage, and then the broth. Season with salt and cook, covered, for a few minutes, or until the cabbage is tender. Remove from heat and stir in the mustard, then 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, and half of the slivered sage leaves. Taste, adjust the seasoning if needed, and set aside. It should taste good on its own, with an assertive mustard flavor at this point.
Cook the pasta in generously salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Generously butter a 9 x 13-inch (23cm x 33cm) baking dish, or equivalent. Arrange 1/2 of the noodles evenly in the bottom of the dish. Layer half the cabbage mixture, half of the potatoes, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, and half of the cubed cheese on top of the noodles. Arrange the remaining noodles over the cheese and cover with the remaining cabbage, potatoes, and cubed cheese. Finish with the remaining Parmesan and slivered sage.
At this point you can cover and refrigerate the casserole for up to a couple days, or bake in a 400F degree oven for 45 - 60 minutes - until the top is nicely golden, and it is hot throughout. Serve hot.
Serves 6 - 8.
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