Ricette: Winter 2024

In Recipes by Sarah

Pesto di Cavolo Nero | Tuscan Kale Pesto

We all love bright basil pesto when it's the season, but in these colder months—when we can't snip fresh herbs from our garden—we look to hardier greens for our pesto fix. Cavolo Nero has been part of Tuscan cuisine for centuries, and it's now fairly common at grocery stores and farmer's markets in the US; you may know it as Lacinato or dinosaur kale. This traditional variety and walnuts replace basil and pine nuts to create a satisfying, winter-friendly pasta sauce. Of course, you can use it in so many other dishes too (On crostini or in a sandwich! Dolloped into scrambled eggs! As a dip! You can't go wrong...)

A metal bowl of deep green chunky pesto with a big orange spoon, on a marble tabletop.
Chiocciole (snail) shaped pasta in a big pot, coated in bright green pesto, with a big metal serving spoon.

3 cups Cavolo Nero (Tuscan/Lacinato/Dinosaur Kale)

½ cup Walnuts

1 clove Garlic

¼ cup Parmigiano Cheese

¾ cup Olive Oil

1 Lemon Zest 

Salt and pepper, to taste


Wash the cavolo nero under cold water. Separate the leaves from the stem.

Bring water to a boil in a pot big enough to fit all the kale. Add an abundant amount of salt and blanch the cavolo nero leaves for 5 minutes. Drain the greens and put them in a bowl with cold water to halt the cooking process. Once cold, drain the water and squeeze the leaves out well.

Using a food processor, blend the blanched kale with the rest of the ingredients until it reaches a smooth texture, adding more olive oil as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook your favorite type of pasta (to a perfect al dente, of course!) and toss it in a bowl with the pesto and a little bit of the pasta water, mix well, and enjoy!