This month’s issue of Bon Appetitmagazine has an article by Molly Wizenburg called “How I Learned to Love Kale.” It reminded me of my own experience with kale, which had been poorly represented all my life as the lonely curly leaf garnish on the side of a dish at a diner.
When I went on a culinary vacation in Tuscany in 2007, my perception completely changed, mostly due to my introduction by Chef Claudio to cavalo nero, or “black cabbage.” It’s what we call lacinato kale or Tuscan kale–that long, dark, smooth-edged variety.
For the last two years I’ve been snatching it up locally any chance I get. Eaters’ Guild is one of the best (maybe one of the only?) suppliers in West Michigan. I tried to find the seeds for my garden this spring but no one had them. Next year I plan to order seeds to ensure I have this nutritious, versatile veggie in my garden all season long.
I have several recipes for preparing cavalo nero, but tonight I decided to try the recipe in this issue of Bon Appetit, Spaghetti with Braised Kale.
The Mew Chef inspected the kale prior to cooking:
As usual, I improvised on the recipe. To accommodate Bill’s wheat and dairy allergies, I used rice pasta instead of wheat, and Pecorino (sheep’s cheese) instead of Parmesan. Following Chef Claudio’s advice, I used red onion instead of yellow because it’s sweeter. And, I couldn’t resist garnishing it with some leftover grassfed bacon and toasted pine nuts.