Pasta with Kale (in the absence of Cavolo Nero)

20 Jan

January is a dark, gloomy month for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. For many of us it is a month of tightening the financial belt and loosening the trouser belt (whilst making plans to get fit) after the excesses of Christmas.

This is a dish which ticks all those resolution boxes – healthy, economical and it looks like Spring in a bowl, which is no bad thing. The garlic will ward away germs (or so my old Italian aunties always told me), it’s quick to prepare and you’ll feel comfortably full but without the feelings of guilt after eating this. Sounds good to me!

Even looking at it fills you with vitamins!

Even looking at it fills you with vitamins!

This dish was food for the poor folk…simple ingredients (although if you can afford to use your best olive oil, I’d highly recommend it) and no fuss to make.

Quantities are easily halved or doubled, I used regular kale as I didn’t have cavolo nero (also known as black leaf kale), and it was delicious. The colour was a more vibrant green than the almost black-green you get with cavolo nero.

Ingredients (to serve 2 people very generously)

  • 200g of kale leaves
  • Approx 100ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Maldon (or coarse) sea salt and black pepper
  • Grated parmesan to serve (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the kale and 2 of the garlic cloves for about 5 minutes until soft. It needs to be slightly more than wilted, but not soggy. Drain and put into a food processor.

As you start processing the kale, add slugs of olive oil to the mix until you have a slightly sloppy paste – rather like pesto.

Pasta with Cavolo Nero (1)

Crush the remaining clove of garlic with a teaspoon of rough salt and add 2 teaspoons of olive oil then stir this into the kale mixture. Taste and season with extra salt and black pepper if necessary and then stir into your favourite pasta, making sure you keep a little of the cooking water to loosen up the pasta if necessary once you have added the kale.

To serve, add grated parmesan if liked and some folk even add a little extra drizzle of olive oil. Go on, I won’t tell anyone!

If you’d like to see how we make our olive oil in Spain, click here.

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56 Responses to “Pasta with Kale (in the absence of Cavolo Nero)”

  1. 76sanfermo January 20, 2015 at 16:56 #

    Ya conocía esta receta y estoy segura que le gustara’ a muchas personas , por su sencillez en prepararla y su rico sabor en comerla!
    Gracias por habérmela recordado!

  2. Linda January 20, 2015 at 17:57 #

    I love these types of recipes! Rustic, homey and so delicious! I guess I seem to gravitate to the “poor folks” dishes and they seem the best to me!!

    • Chica Andaluza January 23, 2015 at 11:47 #

      The poor folk had to make things taste great with the few ingredients they had – and this is often the best food of all!

  3. PendleStitches January 20, 2015 at 18:01 #

    I can feel it doing me good from here!

  4. The Literate Chef January 20, 2015 at 19:38 #

    Great idea. We love kale, and make it with garlic, olive oil, black olives and red pepper flakes as my uncle Fred taught me.

  5. Mad Dog January 20, 2015 at 20:04 #

    That looks yummy. I’ve just been spoiled by a friend who I edited some video for as favour. She took me to Barrafina for lunch – I think I just had the best allioli ever! If Big Man gets home sick, you must take him there 😉

  6. Ginger January 20, 2015 at 20:47 #

    I used to laugh at that whole kale craze. Until I checked it out in theEnglish-German dictionary and realised that we had been eating it all along, in form of simple dishes like yours! Being German, we add sausage … chorizo is quite nice … 😉

  7. themateriallady January 20, 2015 at 20:48 #

    It looks both healthy and tasty. I didn’t think that was possible!

  8. joey and the owl January 20, 2015 at 21:10 #

    Yum! This looks so good!

  9. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial January 21, 2015 at 00:41 #

    Look at that colour!! It would be a glorious feast on an overcast day! I wonder if I could make something similar with the rapini I’ve got growing in the backyard…hmmm.. x

  10. Eha January 21, 2015 at 00:50 #

    This post could almost have been wordless . . . somehow THAT photo tells the story in spades!!!! Wonderful!

  11. cookinginsens January 21, 2015 at 02:12 #

    Looks great!

  12. Tandy | Lavender and Lime January 21, 2015 at 04:55 #

    Given the awful winter you are having, any reminder of spring is good 🙂

  13. PlumTreeDreamer January 21, 2015 at 05:31 #

    I like how you blended the kale for a different texture!

  14. fati's recipes January 21, 2015 at 15:24 #

    Looks healthy without compromising the delicious! 🙂 I love it, Chica.

  15. Amanda January 21, 2015 at 17:47 #

    What a gorgeous, simple and healthy pesto. It’s also seasonal. Well done, Chica! Keep your chin up till spring!

  16. Our Growing Paynes January 21, 2015 at 17:51 #

    What a great idea for the kale.

    • Chica Andaluza January 23, 2015 at 13:37 #

      I love it, but sometimes it’s nice to use it in a different way.

  17. narf77 January 21, 2015 at 19:09 #

    I am in full appreciation mode with this post Ms Chica and after all, Cavolo nero is just black kale after all ;). LOOOOOVE the olive crushing post! I reckon my comment went to spam though (visual) so you might have to look for it in spam to enjoy it 😉

    • Chica Andaluza January 23, 2015 at 13:38 #

      Couldn’t get the visual to work L Glad you liked this one – I thought of you as we ate it! The olive crushing is a wonderful time, maybe we’ll try to get back to Spain for it this year.

      • narf77 January 23, 2015 at 17:54 #

        The visual was Homer Simpson drinking straight out of the tap at the bar…my idea of olive oil heaven ;). Fingers crossed you get back for it this year as it looks like it would be a whole community event that would be well celebrated 🙂

  18. Margot @ Gather and Graze January 22, 2015 at 00:46 #

    What a fabulous colour with the kale pesto! Looks wonderful!

  19. Food,Photography & France January 23, 2015 at 11:11 #

    That looks and sounds wonderful…I must be the only cook on the planet who has never bothered with the sacred kale:)

    • Chica Andaluza January 23, 2015 at 14:01 #

      Do they have it where you are? We don’t come across it much at home in Spain.

  20. TheDorsetFinca January 24, 2015 at 09:01 #

    We have kale on a regular basis but usually boiled or baked into chips. Thank you for giving me an alternative use for one of my favourite veggies! Hope you’re keeping warm in this chilly weather!

    • Chica Andaluza January 24, 2015 at 10:15 #

      Ooh – how do you make your Kale chips?

      • TheDorsetFinca January 24, 2015 at 17:50 #

        With a bit of olive oil, little bit of salt and baked in the oven. 😀

      • Chica Andaluza January 24, 2015 at 17:51 #

        Will be giving that a go!

  21. bitsandbreadcrumbs January 24, 2015 at 17:58 #

    I always end up with extra kale and arugula in the fridge and can’t think of what to do with it when I get tired of salads. This looks so good and reminds me that I can make pesto out of most anything green! Great pasta and definitely a bright dish during a gloomy time of year.

    • Chica Andaluza January 26, 2015 at 17:03 #

      This would be great with any kind of green leafy veg I think!

  22. Karen January 31, 2015 at 22:54 #

    The simple dishes always seem to be some of the best. Love the beautiful green color.

  23. Maulana Angga February 9, 2015 at 09:21 #

    Hmm yummy, what a great idea. Simple and healthy pesto. Thanks for sharing chica.

  24. Jaketanakkarakter July 1, 2015 at 10:31 #

    Yum! it looks great

  25. Burhan October 27, 2015 at 16:32 #

    i dont like kale. but it looks delicious

  26. restlessjo January 11, 2016 at 09:59 #

    I’m confused! Think I’m in last year’s posts but happy 2016 anyway! Hope all’s well with you guys? 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza January 11, 2016 at 19:45 #

      You are indeed in last year’s post …but Happy New Year anyway!!

  27. Suci Purnamasari March 3, 2016 at 07:48 #

    hemm yummyy 😀

  28. Rak Sepatu Gantung August 8, 2016 at 12:16 #

    it’s green! all green! looks like very tasty…

  29. Rak Sepatu Gantung August 16, 2016 at 04:48 #

    all green.. very great!

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