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Savoy Cabbage and Sausages - Verze e Luganega

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Savoy Cabbage with Sausages, or Verze e Luganega, is a classic north Italian winter dish, and though one might class it as a vegetable, it is actually a superb accompaniment to polenta. You'll find variations on this dish throughout the north; this particular interpretation is from the Veneto. Regular mild link sausages will work fine if you don't have Luganega sausage.
To serve 4:

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes


  • 3 1/3 pounds (1.5 k) Savoy cabbage (a head)
  • 3 ounces (80 g) cured lard, or 1/2 cup olive oil
  • A ladle of broth (bouillon will work if need be)
  • 1 pound (450 g) fresh Luganega sausage, casings removed and meat crumbled
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • Freshly made polenta
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Wash the cabbage, quarter it, discarding the outermost leaves if they are damaged, and remove the tough inner core. Coarsely shred the leaves.

If you are using cured lard or pancetta fat, grind it in a mortar or chop it, and heat it in a pot large enough to contain the cabbage leaves. If you are instead using the oil, which will give a slightly more delicate result, simply heat it in the pot; in either case add the cabbage when the oil is hot, sprinkle the broth over it, cover it, and simmer it for an hour.

At this point add the crumbled sausage (mild link sausage will be fine if you cannot find Luganega) and the wine, season to taste with salt and pepper, and continue simmering for another three hours, adding a little more liquid if you think it necessary.

Serve steaming hot with freshly made polenta.

1) I have seen a recipe that also calls for a teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary leaves; you can add them or not as you prefer.
2) This dish takes well to being made ahead, and is also a good option if you are at home, working, say, and can take a minute every now and then to check the pot, but cannot take the time to watch it constantly.

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