This simple pasta dinner is creamy and nourishing, packed with hearty cavolo nero (aka Tuscan kale, black kale). Easy to make and adaptable, a bowl of cavolo nero pasta may become your favorite way to eat your greens.

Today we’re adding an easy 20 minute dinner to our repertoire, one of those lovely pasta meals where the toppings can be prepared while the spaghetti boils.

A perfect meal for the winter time when I begrudgingly accept that cherry tomatoes aren’t in season anymore but whaddya know, cavolo nero is! An old forgotten favorite which I never use enough.

Seriously, how amazing is this stuff? Also known as Tuscan kale or black kale, it’s extra thick, extra textured and chewy.

Its long leaf shape is really easy to de-stem, much easier than its cousin curly kale, which makes it nice and simple to prep.

It’s fun to cook with because it’s less likely to wilt or go limp, and its texture allows it to grab onto sauces and garlic and cheese and all the good things.

And it’s fun to eat because it’s got more bite, and adds a lot of contrast to a dish like this one.

This is a really simple pasta dish that doesn’t have a lot of ingredients and comes together quickly on a weeknight.

You have creamy but light spaghetti packed with garlicky, lemony cavolo nero and a scattering of walnuts and olives. Perfect winter comfort food, while you’re safe in the knowledge that you’re eating your greens.

There is plenty of room for variation here, of course, the olives and walnuts are entirely optional and could be replaced with other tasty bits like capers, sundried tomatoes, or pine nuts. You could boost the amount of cream and/or cheese for something more decadent. Start with this recipe, and see where it takes you.

Creamy Cavolo Nero Pasta

This simple pasta dinner is creamy and nourishing, packed with hearty cavolo nero (aka Tuscan kale, black kale). Easy to make and adaptable, a bowl of cavolo nero pasta may become your favorite way to eat your greens.
5 from 3 ratings

Ingredients

  • 300 g (11 oz) dried spaghetti
  • 200 g (7 oz) bunch of cavolo nero, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) double cream / heavy cream
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard
  • 75 g (2.5 oz) grated parmesan* cheese
  • 8 olives, sliced
  • Handful of chopped walnuts

Instructions 

  • Boil your spaghetti according to package instructions.
  • While the spaghetti is cooking, heat some olive oil in a wok or frying pan and stir fry the cavolo nero until it goes brighter green and starts to soften.
  • Add the garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is fragrant and softening.
  • Pour the lemon juice into the pan and cook until it’s mostly evaporated.
  • Turn the heat down to a very low setting. Push all of the cavolo nero to the edges of the pan so that there is a bit of space in the middle. Add the dijon mustard and cream, and get them mixed together with the wooden spoon before mixing it through the cavolo nero.
  • Add a handful of the cheese (reserving a little for the topping), the walnuts and olives to the pan.
  • Remove from the heat until the pasta is ready. Once it’s cooked, drain and add to the pan with the cavolo nero.
  • Top with the extra cheese and serve.

Notes

* Use a parmesan style cheese without animal rennet to keep this vegetarian friendly. They often go by the name "pasta cheese" or "Italian cheese". Failing that, swap in any other strong hard cheese.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 445kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 55mg, Sodium: 649mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 3g