Cavalo nero has several other names. Lacinato kale in Italian, or black cabbage, Tuscan kale, Italian kale or dinosaur kale. Whatever the name, it is rich in iron, Vitamin K, A and C and like its other cousins, has more calcium than milk.

Cavalo nero

The sauce is fairly simple and quick to make, using only a few ingredients. I used parsley pesto but basil pesto should work. Also the cavalo nero is cooked well for 20 or so minutes, as recommended by Italian chefs. You can use casarecce or strozzapretti shaped pasta.

Pasta with cavalo nero and chick pea sauce


60g butter

3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

½ to 1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 tablespoon parsley pesto

Juice of half a lemon

Zest of 1 lemon

400g tin of chick peas

250g cavalo nero, rib removed and finely chopped

Salt to taste

400g casarecce pasta, cooked as per directions on the packet


Heat butter in a large frying pan. When the butter starts turning brown and fragrant, add the cavalo nero. After frying a couple of minutes, add the garlic and chilli flakes. Once incorporated, mix in the parsley pesto and the tin of chick peas along with the aquafaba and half a tin of water (200ml). Season with salt and cook covered on medium heat for 20 minutes until the cavalo nero is soft. Make sure there is enough sauce and if it looks like the sauce is drying up, reduce heat further.

Cook pasta as per directions on the packet. Use a spider strainer, and spoon cooked pasta with a little bit of pasta cooking liquid into the sauce. Toss well.

Stir in the lemon juice and zest of the lemon. Serve immediately with shaved parmesan on top as garnish.

Serves 4.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *