2 pounds fresh sweet Italian pork sausages or bulk sausage
1 large green or Savoy cabbage, about 4 pounds, cored and thickly shredded
Freshly ground black pepper
Crusty bread and mustard, for serving
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish. If using sausages, remove casings and discard them.
Place cabbage in boiling water, cover, and let water come back to the boil. Uncover and boil for 3 minutes. Drain cabbage in a colander and run cold water over it to stop cooking.
Put about 1/3 of the cabbage in buttered dish and cover with 1/2 the meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dot with butter. Repeat, ending with a final layer of cabbage, and dot top with butter.
Cover dish tightly with a layer of parchment paper, then top with a lid or a layer of aluminum foil. Cook for about 2 1/2 hours, until cabbage is soft and sweet, and top is lightly browned. After 2 hours, uncover the dish: if there is a lot of liquid in the bottom, leave uncovered for the rest of the cooking time. If not, re-cover and finish cooking.