Separate cabbage leaves and steam over boiling water to which the bay leaves have been added. Steam the leaves just long enough to soften so that they can be easily rolled. Cool and remove hard veins from leaves. For stuffing, saute onions, pepper and garlic in a little oil until just tender. In a separate pan, saute meat until done. Add 2/3 of the onion mix to the meat and the other ingredients (except the 16 oz. can of stewed tomatoes). Cook and stir until mixture is reduced and rather thick. Stuff each cabbage leaf with about 1/4 cup of meat mixture and roll tightly. (You may have to use 2 leaves if they aren't very big.) Place rolls in oiled pan that is small enough to hold the rolls in shape. Mix the remaining can of stewed tomatoes with the onion mix and add additional seasonings. I usually simmer this for a few minutes and check the flavor. Pour this sauce over the rolls. Cover & bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Mrs. Panno's recipe calls for the addition of day old bread, moistened and squeezed dry. I omit the bread since this is more like a spaghetti sauce than meat loaf mix. I usually serve these with a salad, crusty bread and buttered potatoes (that part's not Italian, but the potatoes go very well with it.) Sorry that there are no specific measurements on the seasonings, but I am usually very heavy-handed with the garlic, oregano & basil. This recipe can also be made in a casserole form to serve a crowd, I've layered chopped cabbage,meat,cabbage & sauce in a casserole and it works fine. If you do it this way you can feed an army! I'm looking forward to trying the soup your way, but, lets face it, it's almost 90 today. It'll be a while before I make split pea soup again. Judy/Sweatin' in Richmond*TX