#Cooking with Pete: Pasta and Cavalo Nero
Cavalo nero is beautiful dark loose cabbage with a lovely slightly sweet flavour. It's very easy to grow, and despite what the link above says, ours overwintered and we're cropping it now. Because it is that bit sweet, it works rather well against the sourness of lemons.
To make tea for two, lightish lunch for four, run to your pantry and gather
- some pasta, 250g or so but you know your own appetite - I usually use penne made from rice, but let's not be picky
- a good pile of cavalo nero, or kale, or a sweetish cabbage, or young chard, maybe even spinach at a push
- an onion or two, chopped
- a lemon
- about 250ml or so of cream - I use Alpro Soya, but you could use cow juice if you promise to feel slightly guilty about it
- a goodly handful of pine nuts
- some flat-leaf parsley, if you have some, coarsely chopped
Pop on your pinny, and get cracking!
- Boil up plenty of water for the pasta. Use a good large pan.
- While that's going on, strip the cavalo nero from its stalks.
- Find a pan large enough to take everything, and stick it on the heat. Throw the pinenuts in, dry, and stir them round gently until they're nicely brown. Be careful - one minute they'll be pale then before you know it they'll go over. Keep an eye on them and once they're nice and brown, tip them out into a bowl.
- Stick a bit of oil in the pan. Fling in the onion, and sweat it down. Zest the lemon and add that too.
- Get the pasta into the boiling water.
- When the pasta is one or two minutes from ready, throw the cavalo nero leaves in with the pasta. Give it a stir. The pan should come back to the boil pretty quickly. When it does check your pasta.
- Drain the pasta and cavalo nero. Shake it. Shake it some more - they'll be a lot of water trapped in the leaves so make sure you get it all out.
- Add the pasta and leaves to the onion. Add the cream, but not too much because you don't want it swimming. Squeeze your naked lemon, and pour the juice in too. Give it all a jolly good stir. Tip the pinenuts over the top. Give it another stir.
- Throw your parsley, if you like it, over the top
- You're done! You may now eat your tea.
anonymous said I like the look of this. I'm a bit at a loss as what to do with all this cavalo nero I've grown ( 10 plants). Looks lovely as a plant but it's as tough as old boots. I say braise it for at least 25 mins with fried onions and bacon. Then it is edible. It's much tougher than cabbage and demands rough treatment. [added 26th Sep 2009]
Cavalo Nero veg curry with red peppers, onion and chick peas and tomatoes. Cook in a balti sauce in a slow cooker for 1-2 hrs add chunks of fresh tomato just before the end of cooking.
serve with boiled rice. [added 13th Oct 2009]