Comfort and spark, in a bowl

(Renee Comet/For The Washington Post)
Food and Dining Editor April 11, 2014

Chef Michael Friedman’s cavatelli dish is a study in ivory. When it shows up at your table at the Red Hen in Bloomingdale, you might expect something simple and soothing, but quick-braised sauerkraut and a mustard-spiked mascarpone add bursts of brightness.

He created the dish after visiting northern Italy’s Alto Adige region, where German and Austrian influences permeate the cooking. Friedman serves it with bacon and without. When he recently moved the dish from the restaurant’s winter menu to spring, he added fresh peas.

Joe Yonan is the Food and Dining editor of The Washington Post and the author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook." He writes the Food section's Weeknight Vegetarian column. View Archive

It’s easy to re-create, especially now that high-quality sauerkraut is readily available; look for an all-natural one with few ingredients such as Bubbies brand, or the locally produced Number 1 Sons.

Recipe: Cavatelli with braised sauerkraut

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