Spaghetti with Cavolo Nero & Almonds

My Spaghetti with Cavolo Nero & Almonds is one of those dishes that pop up once in a while that change you life forever. A dish so visually striking, so simple and so incredibly delicious that you wonder why or how you'd not experienced it in your life before.

I ate a version of this in Rome which absolutely blew my socks off. As is typical with Italian food, there's not a lot to it, but boy, does it pack a punch! Who knew cabbage could taste THIS good!? The Italians, of course.

Spaghetti with Cavolo Nero & Almonds

What's in a name?

Cavolo Nero is the Italian name, but this cabbage goes under other pseudonyms, such as Tuscan Cabbage, Tuscan Kale, Lacinato Kale, Italian kale, Dinosaur Kale, Flat Back kale, Palm Tree Kale, Black Tuscan palm or just plain old Kale. It's utterly exhausting! I just go by its Italian name - Cavolo Nero! Basically, just go for the cabbage with the long, dark green stems and call it a day.

Spaghetti with Cavolo Nero & Almonds

What makes Cavolo Nero Spaghetti so good?

  • The dish is simple. There is no giant roll call of ingredients. 6 simple ingredients. That's it.
  • The cabbage it centre stage. The flavour is a real surprise - it's cabbage like you've never tasted before.
  • The sauce is stunning! Look at the colour!! We eat with our eyes, and this is as appealing as it gets.

A simple pasta recipe

As you'll see below in the video, it's super simple it is to make at home. For the sauce (a kind of pesto) the almonds, all cooked together with the cabbage, help create a rich, creamy texture that clings to the pasta.

For pasta, I use regular dried spaghetti (a thick coarse variety will attract even more sauce) or sometimes penne. And if i'm feeling a bit fancy, I'll fry a slice of proscuitto and crumble it on top for a bit of added flavour and texture.

This sauce also works well with fresh egg pasta. A simple fettucini or papardelle or spaghetti noodle works well, if you want to impress yourself or guests even more. Learn how I make fresh egg pasta.

It's a no brainer that this dish is one of my all time favourite Italian dishes. It's a front runner in my 10 Best Pasta Recipes at

More delicious fresh pasta recipes.

Once you get the hang of making your own pasta there'll be no stopping you. Take a look at some of these super delicious home-spun pasta recipes. The Mezzelune pasta in particular is another Cavolo Nero triumph! Belissimo!

How to make my Spaghetti with Cavolo Nero & Almonds

Spaghetti with Cavolo Nero & Almonds

Spaghetti with Cavalo Nero & Almonds

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Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 4
Calories (per serving) | 233

Video Recipe


  • 1 bunch Cavalo Nero
  • 1/3 cup slithered almonds
  • 1 large clove garlic (roughly chopped)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino cheese
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 packet of spaghetti


  • Fill a large pan with water, season with a little salt and set over a medium/high heat to come to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, strip the cabbage leaves from the stems. Discard the stems and chop the leaves into large pieces.
  • When the water boils, tip in the cabbage, almonds and garlic. Press down into the water then let them simmer gently for 6-7 minutes. Drain into a colander, retaining the cooking liquid.
  • Put the cabbage mix into a food processor along with the olive oil, butter and cheese - you can also use a stick blender to save the mess. Season with plenty of salt & pepper, then blend until you have a smooth puree. Add a little of the cooking liquid to loosen the mix slightly.
  • Cook your spaghetti to the packet instructions in a large pan of salted water. When done, drain and tip into a large pan alongside the cabbage. Toss thoroughly to coat.
  • I always add a spoonful or two of the pasta cooking water as the pasta will always soak up more liquid than you think, and I think we can all agree that a dry pasta is never fun. Portion into bowls, then dust generously with more Parmigiano Reggiano and you're good to go!


Nutrition Facts
Spaghetti with Cavalo Nero & Almonds
Amount Per Serving
Calories 233 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 13mg4%
Sodium 137mg6%
Potassium 73mg2%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 429IU9%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 124mg12%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course | Main Course
Cuisine | Italian
Keyword | Cabbage, Nuts, Pasta, Vegetarian
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