Crock Pot Italian Sausage Stuffed Cabbage

This is a spectacular recipe. Even if you hate cabbage, you will LOVE this. Hubby won’t have anything to do with cabbage, especially after prepping coleslaw from scratch for over 8 years. He tears this up, so do the kids. The cabbage adds crunch, but the flavor is all about the meatballs. This is a great fall and winter dish, but I crave it mid-summer. It’s surprisingly light.
1 large savoy or green cabbage
7 slices whole wheat bread
2/3 cup milk
1 pound ground mild Italian sausage
1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2 28-ounce cans peeled plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
This is the absolute easiest way to peel your cabbage leaves: In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Cut the entire stem end and core out of the cabbage. Put your whole cabbage into the boiling water. 

It only takes a minute, maybe even less, per layer to soften the leaves. Heat until softened, then carefully peel 1-2 leaves, set them aside. Let the next layer soften, peel and repeat until you have 12 leaves of cabbage. Set them aside to dry.
In a small blender or food processor, add the bread and milk. 
Pulse until it turns into a paste.
Mix together the paste, sausage, rosemary, cheese, 1 garlic clove and a nice dash of salt and pepper until mixed well. Roll into 12 large balls, approximately the size of golf balls. 
Place one meatball in the center of each cabbage, roll and secure with a toothpick.
Take the cans of tomatoes and place them in a large bowl. Squish them up with your hands a little so you have a nice, chunky sauce. Add a clove of garlic to the sauce, as well as a nice sprinkling of salt and pepper. Mix together and add half of the sauce to your crock pot. Place in all of the meatballs and top with the second half of the sauce.
Cover and cook to what works well for your day. You can cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 or 10 hours. If you’re home and starting the dish in the AM, go for the shorter cook time. If you’re starting this dish and going to work, cook 10 hours. Both ways, it’s perfect.
Pull out all your picks and serve! For a lighter summer dish, serve alone. For a heartier winter dish, serve with fresh garlic bread.
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