This simple Cavolo Nero recipe will add vital nutrients to your diet. The acidic lemon cuts through a rich white sauce, perfect for a cheesy pasta bake or a creamy chicken tetrazzini.
What is Cavolo Nero?
Cavolo Nero is a loose leaf Cabbage native to Italy’s Tuscany region. Tuscany is a central region of Italy which is also famous for its Wheat and its Olives. Its dark green leaves also give it its name, a literal translation in Italian, meaning ‘Black Cabbage.’
Flavour and Differences to Kale
Cavolo Nero has a bitter flavour similar to curly kale, but the black variety has a slightly sweeter, almost nutter aftertaste. If it is unavailable, try using curly kale in its place or Savoy Cabbage.
Prepare Cavolo Nero in the same way you’d prepare Curly Kale. However, the black cabbage has tougher leaves that may need to be removed. Start by removing rough and old outer leaves. However, don’t discard the stalks; they can be roasted as a delicious side or turned into soup. Then slice or pick the leaves from the tough stalk, and slice them according to the recipe. It’s also great raw macerated with a salad dressing, boiled, steamed, or stir-fried.
Cavolo Nero with Garlic, Chilli, and Lemon
Olive oil- Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, has a sweet fruity flavour that pairs well with cavolo nero and lemons.
Lemon Zest – Don’t waste the lemon; save the juice for another recipe. Lemon zest has a tartness and a difference in flavour that works well with fried food. It adds flavour and aroma in an entirely different way to lemon juice.
Garlic – If two cloves seem too much for your tastes, reduce to one; likewise, if it’s not enough, increase it as you please.
Red Chilli – Chilli without its seeds loses most of its potent spiciness. Instead, a subtle fruitiness adds to the acidity of the lemon and the pungency of the garlic.
Cavolo Nero Sauteed with Garlic, Chilli, and Lemon
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Garlic Cloves Peeled and finely chopped
- 1 Shallot Finely Diced
- 1 Red Chilli Seeds removed and finely diced
- 120 g Cavolo Nero Sliced
- Salt to taste
- Zest of ½ Lemon
- Heat the oil in a saute pan or frying pan over medium heat.
- Gently soften the shallot with a pinch of salt until translucent and soft. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further minute.
- Add the Cavolo Nero, and saute for 3-4 minutes until the leaves wilt and turn tender. The leaves will darken as they cook.
- Finish with lemon zest, and season to taste.