Posted by: debrakolkka | November 24, 2010

Spaghetti con cavolo nero

Cavolo nero is a new discovery for me and I love it.  It obviously grows like mad in Italy, because it is everywhere. We can buy it in Australia, where it is sometimes called Tuscan cabbage.  I like to put  it in minestrone and with spaghetti.   A recipe for pasta with cavolo nero follows.

the ingredients

You will need – a bunch of cavalo nero, an onion or a couple of spring onions, pinenuts, garlic, spaghetti, or pasta of your choice, parmesan cheese –  grated.

Brown the pinenuts carefully in a little olive oil and set aside.  Keep an eye on them, the litle devils can burn in an instant.

brown the pinenuts

Chop the garlic, onions and cavalo nero finely and fry in a large fry pan in olive oil.  You can add a chopped chilli if you wish.

fry the galrlic, onions and cavalo nero

You will need to add more oil or a little water while cooking, so it doesn’t become dry.

Meanwhile boil the water and cook spaghetti.  When it is cooked al dente, drain and add to the cavalo nero, lower heat and stir together.  Add grated parmesan and pinenuts.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

add grated parmesan

mix the spaghetti with the cavolo

I served the spaghetti with a tomato salad.

tomato salad

Followed by fresh figs, cheese and a delicious 12 year old Pedro Ximinez sherry (which I like a lot)

yummy figs

In Italy cavalo nero is very inexpensive.  This is not the case in Australia, Brisbane anyway, but it is delicious.  Give it a try.


  1. This is also known as kale. My sister grows it (she’s a member of the Brisbane Organic Growers Group), gave me some, and I didn’t have a clue what to do with it. Now that I know, I won’t let it wilt away – and I felt so guilty throwing it out.

  2. You’re a star, Deb, I have this growing in my backyard! 🙂 Thanks for the recipe. Over here it’s also known as “Tuscan kale”.

  3. It’s cheap here in Adelaide in winter. We love it in soup or pan fried and served with eggs and toast. Chuck a few pepperoncini in at the end of cooking. Very nutritious. Your dish looks great too.

  4. I remember receiving my first bunch a few years ago and being absolutely fascinated by it! I’m glad to see it’s becoming more well known. And yep like Pam and Celia have said, we call it Tuscan Kale 🙂

  5. Gorgeous dish, this is the first year I haven’t grown cavalo nero, we are having a break from it, but it normally keeps going through the frosts of winter and we love it too! Not tried it with spaghetti, usually have it in a soup with chorizo and potato. So many ideas of dishes to try ! Lovely!

  6. Sounds like a yummy recipe Deb. We still have some in our garden that hasn’t gone to seed so I must give your recipe a try

  7. Lovely-my mouth is watering! I keep forgetting that it’s not winter for you!

  8. The recipe sounds great Debbra. We can buy Kale here in the USA. Can hardly wait to make it!

  9. Yum! I love simple dishes like this.

  10. Hi Deb. It looks delicious. Where in Bris do you buy the covolo nero? Not Woollies I bet? OK I have just read Pam’s comment: kale.

    You take a very good photo by the way. Have you ever thought of publishing your own Cook Book? You have the makings.

  11. Hi Colin,
    I made the pasta in Bagni di Lucca. I have bought cavalo nero at the Powerhouse market at New Farm and it is sometimes at James St markets – for about 10 times what I pay for it in Italy. Thanks for the nice comments.

  12. When I first saw your covolo nero I thought….. its gotta be a relation to kale… but I see through your comments that it is, excellent…. as I’m a big fan of kale! Love this meal, all of it – right down to the 12 year old Pedro Ximinez sherry which would just finish the wonderful tastes off so well. Lovely, thanks for sharing Deb 🙂

  13. I really need to try figs one of these days. You’re recipe with them looks absolutely delicious. On my next trip to Italy, believe I am going to Lucca.

    I had some home cooking while I was in Reggio-Emilia and it was 100x better than even the best restaurant cooking.

    • I hope I am there so you can visit.

  14. Great! This is the first time I hear about this recipe, I’ll try it!

    P.S. The twins are boys!

  15. Hi Deb, it was nice to catch up with you on Sunday morning. I tried to print this recipe and also tried the share hyperlink to print it but can’t do it as per our discussion on Sunday.

    • I’ll work on it. Deb

  16. Very easy to grow here in Oz, my sister has it at her holiday house and at her home also, she loves it stir fried! Looks yummy!!!

    • It is really expensive in Brisbane and it doesn’t look as good as the Italian cavolo.

  17. What great recipe and what a lovely blog – I came across it while looking for recipes with cavlo nero!

    • Thank you, I make this often. I love cavolo nero.

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