I learned of this dish while researching traditional/local food products north of Bergamo in Valle Brembana, but if this recipe for nousecc turns out to be entirely wrong, I may have to hit delete and start over. Nousecc – pronounced noo-ZETCH – caught my attention when I read its description: foglia di verza con farcia di parmigiano reggiano, bologna, pane grattuggiato e prezzemolo. Cabbage leaf with a stuffing of parmigiano cheese, bologna (mortadella), bread crumbs and parsley, which in my mind, says YUMMY! Other cabbage recipes that I’ve seen require the step of simmering in tomato sauce, but this one makes no mention of it. I made this as an appetizer when we prepared Easter lunch for my inlaws earlier this month, and I have to say that my father-in-law was practically licking his plate clean. He even asked for the leftovers.
Nousecc is described as being an ancient recipe, so I hope that this one comes close enough to the original. If you can’t find mortadella, substitute with bologna.
8 ounces mortadella, cut into smaller chunks
1 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated parmigiano
1/3 cup chopped parsley
6-8 savoy cabbage leaves, hard bottom ribs removed, blanched briefly in hot water to soften
salt and pepper
1/2 glass white wine
I’m sure back then they did all this by hand but I’m opting for the food processor. Process the first 4 ingredients until the texture looks like crumbs. Add a handful of mixture, pressing lightly to hold together, and place at the bottom of the cabbage leaf. Fold up the bottom end, then both sides, then continue rolling until completed. Place seam side down. Heat a little olive oil in a covered cooking pot. Place cabbage rolls, seams side down, in a single layer; season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the 1/2 glass of wine, cover the pot, and cook for 30 minutes on a low flame. Check periodically to make sure that the liquid hasn’t completely evaporated, adding wine as needed. Serve immediately.