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cavolo nero pesto

i’m a woman with an obsession. each week i pick up a bunch or two of cavolo nero and work it into our meals at every opportunity – most recently we had roast chicken, with a lovely caramelised onion and cavolo nero pilaf.

 however, things caught up with me this weekend – i’ve been under the weather for ages (an endless cold, which is finally on its way) and a week of lazy food left me with an excess of cavolo nero that was almost past its best. my friend helen came to the rescue, reminding me of skye gyngell’s cavolo nero pesto recipe, which she’d tried and loved last year.

it’s an interesting pesto, relying on butter rather than oil for its richness (although there is a bit of oil in there), plus anchovies as well as the more usual garlic and parmesan. it tastes wonderful and i was instantly sad i’d not made it in time to ease a little under the skin of my chicken, before it roasted.  

this week it’ll be tossed with pasta (plus an extra handful of cavolo nero which will be added to the pasta water a few minutes before it is ready) and i want to try mixing it with crushed beans to make a bruschetta inspired by one i ate in italy, several years ago.

skye gyngell’s cavolo nero pesto

1 bunch of cavolo nero (my leaves weighed c200g, once prepared)

a good pinch of sea salt

40g unsalted butter

2 tablespoons of grassy flavoured extra-virgin olive oil

3 good-quality anchovies*

3 cloves of garlic

75g grated parmesan

rinse the cabbage well to remove any dirt. strip the dark fibrous leaves from their stalks and discard the stalks. boil a large pot of well-salted water, plunge in the leaves and cook for five minutes. remove and drain. place the cooked cabbage in a food processor along with the butter, oil, anchovies, garlic and parmesan and purée until smooth.


* i think these are optional as there is plenty of flavour from the other ingredients.

Reader Comments (7)

That is one of my favourite things to eat, ever.
January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
This sound delicious abby
January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAna
I don't know cavolo nero (yet) but have, through taking up a weekly veg box, fallen head over heels for leaves. Would this, i your opinion, work with any of the winter leaves - kale, chard?

Keep up the good work and happy new year
January 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdavid
Hi david, cavolo nero is black kale so I think this would be fine with the regular stuff. I'm not a fan of chard - I find it a bit dull - so I'm less sure about that. However skye does have several chard recipes, maybe google them instead? And let me know if you find a winner so I can try chard again!
January 17, 2012 | Registered Commenterabby
Steam the chard (take the leaves away from the stems - they can be stir fried) then coat the leaves in garlic infused butter - phenomenal!
January 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdavid
thanks david, that sounds great, i will give it a go :)
January 22, 2012 | Registered Commenterabby
Absolutely delicious. Thank you.
October 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCatie

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