I dared myself to make a baked pasta/potato combo, envisioning its heartiness and inspired by 101 Cookbooks. I used cute fingerling potatoes, dried tagliatelle egg pasta (instead of farro pasta), and tallegio cheese. This was a winning combo. The whole-grain mustard and the cabbage merged into a “sauerkraut” flavor; the potatoes were indeed substantial.

My potatoes were tender after simmering for 30 minutes. My leeks had softened after sauteeing in butter for 5 minutes. The cabbage, too, needed 5 minutes to soften. I added 1 tsp. kosher salt to this. I do enjoy grating all that parmesan cheese and crumbling the tallegio -- it’s such a basic pleasure. After layering my casserole -- noodles, cabbage, potatoes, cheese -- I baked it for 49 minutes. This is a fine wintertime meal that we all appreciated.

Fingerling Potatoes (1 lb.) = $1.87
Leeks (2) = $2.74
Tallegio Cheese (4 oz.) = $2.12

RECIPE: feed your family with a hearty casserole of pasta/potatoes/cabbage
eat after less than 2 hours of prep and cooking
TASTE: whole-grain mustard + cabbage = sauerkraut flavor; parmesan cheese is tangy and tallegio cheese is buttery; fresh sage smells and tastes like a warm winter blanket

For another tour of vegetarian amusement, I will next cook “Koshary,” from the January/February 2011 issue of Saveur, which is an Egyptian street food that combines pasta, lentils, chickpeas, and fried onions. Wow! See it when you come back to my site on Thursday, February 17.