Sunday, December 27, 2009

Another Cavolo Nero Dish

Last night Patrick and I cooked dinner. Pat made the main course - a Pasta alla Trapanese that we had learned from our cooking classes at Mezzo Mezzo - and I made a couple of side dishes, a roast cauliflower, and another dish using the same Cavolo Nero (black kale) that I had used in the Tuscan soup described in my previous post. Everything turned our really well, with the meal enhanced by Alex' announcement of his engagement to Cassie!

Here's the recipe I used for the dish - Cavolo Nero with Raisins, Pine Nuts and Pancetta - which served six of us as a side dish:


~ 2 bunches (a bit over a pound) cavolo nero
~ 2 tablespoons raisins
~ 2 tablespoons pine nuts
~ Extra virgin olive oil
~ 2 cloves garlic, minced
~ Pinch of hot red chili flakes
~ 1/3 lb. pancetta - cubed
~ Sea salt
~ Pepper


Destem the kale. Chop roughly (1/2 inch strips). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the chopped kale and boil until it is just tender, about 5-6 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain.

Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover with warm water. Set aside to plump for 30 minutes, then drain.

Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan and let cool.

Slice the pancetta. Saute until crisp - remove from pan and set aside.

Add the garlic and chili flakes to the pan with the pancetta fat - saute briefly until the garlic is translucent. Add the cooked kale, pancetta, drained raisins, toasted pine nuts, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until all the ingredients are well distributed and the greens are warmed throughout.

Mashed anchovies would also have been an alternative to the pancetta. There are a number of recipes out there employing cavolo nero (including one I saw using it instead of basil in quasi-pesto sauce) and I am looking forward to trying a number of them while it is in season.

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