Pork rib, sausage and cabbage stew

Almost forgotten today because it is considered too rich, Cassoeula is one of the most comforting winter dishes. And with a modern twist like you will find in here, there is no need to feel guilty about eating it even now.

Taking its origins around the area of Milan several centuries ago, the original recipe was meant to be a celebration of the pig, so the stew would include a pig’s head, nose, ears, tail and leg, along with cabbage and other vegetables.

I decided to lighten it up a bit, believe or not, this version is much lighter than the original versions I found. I replaced salt pork with pancetta, which is much more flavourful, and for a lower carb version, I suggest serving it with a celeriac, turnip or cauliflower purée instead of the traditional soft polenta.

If snow is coming your way, gather up the ingredients for this stew, then stay home and cuddle up in front of the fireplace with a warm bowl of comforting Cassoeula and you will inevitably have a smile on your face and warmth in your heart.


  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print


4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon butter
1 rack baby back ribs
4 mild Italian sausages
50 g pancetta, chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 small head Savoy cabbage, cut in 2-3 cm squares
1 glass dry white wine
1 to 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Remove the tough membrane from the ribs and cut them between the bones into individual pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat, cook the ribs on one side in the butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil until brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Cook them on all sides until brown all over, then remove and transfer to a plate and reserve.
  3. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook the sausages for a few minutes on each side, just to give them a bit of colour. Transfer to the plate with the ribs.
  4. Remove all the fat from the pan and replace by 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  5. Over medium-low heat, cook the onion, celery, carrot and pancetta until the onion is soft, about 7 minutes.
  6. Add the meat back to the pan and stir with the vegetables, and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the white wine and let it evaporate almost completely.
  8. Add the cabbage and one cup of broth, cover, and let simmer until the ribs are cooked and tender, 45-60 minutes. Stir once in a while and check to make sure there is enough liquid in the pot, adding a bit more if needed.
  9. When cooked, if there is too much liquid, uncover and let it reduce a bit.
  10. Serve over polenta or celeriac, cauliflower or turnip purée.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s