Roll Up! Roll Up! Italian Cabbage Rolls

By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:


In autumn, I need comfort food. Summer is gone, and Florence is so grey and cold. I always need to cook something special to cheer me up, and these involtini are delicious and taste like my childhood.


Cabbage rolls are made all over the world—China, Russia, Germany, Poland . . . everywhere! There are different versions of this dish in every region of Italy, but my family recipe is the best! My grandmother used to cook them often, and I always follow her recipe.


This is a tasty involtini with a spicy meat heart. It has Parmesan and Mortadella, and these magic ingredients give the cabbage involtini a fantastic flavor, rich and tasty. They are so easy to make and so satisfying!

Quick Homemade Marinara Sauce:

(Makes 1 cup)

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 clove garlic, minced

Basil leaves, chopped

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper


Make simple Marinara Sauce:

Sauté garlic in Olive Oil until lightly golden. Add crushed tomatoes and turn up the heat a bit until the mixture starts to bubble but not boil.


Add basil. Season to taste with a pinch of salt and pepper.



Cabbage Involtini


1 head Savoy (Verza) cabbage

1 lb ground pork

1 thin slice of Mortadella, minced

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 fresh chili pepper, minced

¾ cup grated Parmigiano cheese

Salt and Pepper

Dash of nutmeg


Boil a large pot of salted water.


You'll need a dozen cabbage leaves for this recipe, but choose the best intact leaves to add to the boiling water. Boil for 2 minutes.


Remove leaves and quickly rinse under cold water. Pat dry.


Combine the pork, scallions, chili, Parmesan, and Moradella in a large bowl. Season with a dash of nutmeg, salt, and pepper.


Lay a leaf of cabbage on a cutting board and place 2 generous tablespoons of the pork mixture in the middle.


Cover the bottom of the baking dish with half of the Marinara Sauce.


Roll up every leaf and add the bundles to the bottom of a heavy skillet on top of the sauce. Cover the rolls with the remaining sauce to finish.


Place a lid on top and cook until meat is cooked through and cabbage is tender—apprx. 35 minutes.

Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup, Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), The Grimore, The Magic of the Moon, and Magic Herbs (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).

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