Spaghetti with Cavalo Nero and Almonds

It’s been a while since my last post. This is not a suggestion that I have either given up on the blog, or stopped eating – merely that I have been inundated with real life issues like work and… work But today I felt compelled to share this delicious recipe I created using the delicious Cavolo Nero cabbage (or Tuscan Cabbage as it goes by in the English speaking world). I picked up a huge bunch at the Sydney Markets on friday and after much thought decided it would make a lovely Sunday lunch pasta – the weather in Sydney was sunny, but cold – so this was a perfect dish to warm the soul. I had no idea that this would pack such a hit of flavour. The cabbage is earthy, creamy and so so delicious when mixed with the spaghetti. The almonds add a little nuttiness in both flavour and texture – it’s a simple dish to put together and in my opinion one of the tastiest pasta dishes I’ve eaten in a long long while. This is a must cook!

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-3)
250g cavalo nero (leaves removed from stems, and stems discarded) (as an alternative to Cavalo Nero, you could also use Green Cabbage, Swiss Chard leaves or Kale).
4 garlic cloves (peeled and left whole)
50g slivered almonds
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
250g spaghetti
Salt & pepper

Heat 2 large pans filled with water and 1 tablespoon salt until boiling. To one of the pans, add the Cavalo Nero and garlic and cook for 6 minutes. Add the almonds and cook for a further 7 minutes. Drain the leaves, retaining about 400ml of the water.

Pop the leaves into a food processor and add 1 tablespoon butter, half the Parmigiano-Reggiano, the extra virgin olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Add about half a cup of the cabbage cooking liquid. Blend the mixture into a semi smooth paste then set aside.

To the other boiling pan, add the spaghetti and cook to the packet instructions until done. Drain the pasta and return the empty pan to the heat. Add the remaining butter and half the cabbage paste. Tip in the spaghetti then the remaining paste and then another half a cup of the cabbage cooking liquid. Stir well for 1-2 minutes until well combined. Remove from the heat.

Spoon the pasta into serving bowls and sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano – a grinding of black pepper and a final drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Bellissimo!!

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