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Find comfort in the simplicity of sweet, buttery noodles, onions and cabbage

Julie Falsetti
For The York Dispatch

For a large part of my residency in New York City, I lived in a five-story walk-up building. For those not initiated into the joys of tenement living, this meant four steep flights of stairs and no elevator.

When I arrived home from work in the evenings, I would stop on each landing and inhale the aromas of dinners cooking in various apartments. It served as an olfactory respite from the climb.

Reflecting the population of the city, the tenants living in the building were a diverse lot. On the first floor, a Cuban neighbor would be stewing beef for ropa vieja. Going one flight up, there was the smell of a long cooking tomato sauce from a family who owned the local pizzeria.

One evening I ran into my Czech neighbor standing outside her door. I was stopped in my tracks by the smell of cabbage, and I asked what she was cooking. She smiled and said it was just a simple peasant dish, and she mumbled a name I didn’t quite catch. She invited me inside for a taste, and I became an instant fan of what I later learned was called haluski.

Haluski (ha loosh’ key) is a simple dish of cooked cabbage, onions and noodles. Many countries claim to be the originator of the dish, but to avoid arguments, it is best to say it has Eastern European roots.

Haluski is comfort food at its finest. The long, slow cooking of the cabbage and onions brings out their sweetness. The addition of buttery egg noodles makes it a hearty, rustic dish that won’t leave you feeling hungry when you leave the table.

But with its monochromatic colors, haluski needs a little help with presentation. A dash of paprika on the top will do the trick.

Haluski earns its popularity because it is economical and easy to prepare. It can stand on its own as a vegetarian main dish or act as a side dish. With cabbage in season now, it is a good time to add haluski to your autumn menu.

Haluski is an Eastern European comfort food that won’t leave bellies rumbling.

Haluski

  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 package wide egg noodles
  • Paprika for garnish

In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cabbage and caraway seeds and toss to mix with the onions. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and a few grindings of pepper. Cover the skillet and cook on a medium low flame for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook the egg noodles in salted water according to package directions. Drain and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.

Add the cabbage and onions, and mix well. Taste for salt. Serve sprinkled with a little paprika.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section. Reach her with questions and comments at julietrulie11@gmail.com.