Pasta with Kale (in the absence of Cavolo Nero)

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.


56 thoughts on “Pasta with Kale (in the absence of Cavolo Nero)

  1. 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. 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!!

  3. 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 😉

  4. 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 … 😉

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

  6. 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 😉

    1. 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.

      1. 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 🙂

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

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