What is Cavolo Nero? This dinosaur-like bumpy leafed green comes from Tuscany Italy. It is also known as black kale or black cabbage. I have a bunch of Cavolo Nero and have created a delicious spelt savoury tart with Cavolo Nero. Cavolo Nero is packed full of vitamins and iron. What does Cavolo Nero taste like? It is tangy, bitter and slightly sweeter than regular kale or cabbage.

How do you prepare and cook Cavolo Nero?

  • Wash then remove the hard stem in the centre as this is a little too tough to chew. I know I did try once.
  • Slice in a shredded style and eat raw as a salad, or blanch, steam or stir fry.
  • It goes well with mushrooms, onions and garlic.

How to store Cavolo Nero?
A tip I learnt recently was to trim off the stalks and wrap the leaves in a damp cloth like a tea towel and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Savoury Tart Recipe Idea using Cavolo Nero

I adapted a savoury tart recipe from a Spinach and ricotta recipe from my Italian cookbook. I made the pastry with my favourite spelt flour and added Cavolo Nero instead of spinach and added my favourite Swedish cheese Vasterbotten as I didn't have any parmesan cheese on hand.

PREP. TIME = 50 + 15 fridge
COOKING TIME = 50 mins
SERVES = 6-8
EQUIPMENT = rolling pin, 23cm tart tin or pie dish, stand mixer (optional). large bowl, fry pan.

Cavolo Nero and Ricotta Spelt Savoury Tart

Pastry Ingredients

  • Spelt/ plain flour – 250g (2 cups)
  • Unsalted chilled and cubed butter – 125g (about 1/2 cup)
  • Large whole egg – 1
  • Chilled water – 2-3 tbsp
  • Sesame seeds (optional) – 1 tbsp

Filling Ingredients

  • Butter or oil – 1-2 tbsp
  • Finely chopped onion – 125g (1 cup)
  • Garlic cloves or Minced – 2 or 2 tsp
  • Shredded Cavolo Nero – 100g (about 5-6 stems)
  • Ricotta cheese – 185g (3/4 cup)
  • Grated Parmesan or hard cheese – 50g
  • Large eggs beaten – 3
  • Milk or egg wash glaze

Pastry Method

  1. BLEND flour and butter until fine breadcrumbs form
  2. ADD in egg and chilled butter (2 tbsp at first) until pieces start to form together
  3. REMOVE from the mixer stand and finish off the dough ball with your hand.
  4. FORM a flattened disc with the dough and wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes
  5. RESERVE a third of the dough for the top.
  6. FILLING – gently sauté the onion and garlic until soft but not brown. Add in seasoning. Add in sliced Cavolo Nero at the end to slightly soften. Remove and rest and cool down.
  7. ROLL out dough either between two pieces of baking paper, on your floured bench or in a floured pastry mat, add a little flour to the rolling pin.
  8. ONCE rolled out in a size slightly bigger than your tart dish.
  9. LAY the raw pastry into the pie dish leaving a slight edge on the side; this will be used to press together with the lattice top pieces.
  10. ADD the beaten eggs, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese to the cooled filling.
  11. ADD the combined filling into the raw tart shell.
  12. PREHEAT oven 180˚C.
  13. ROLL out the pastry dough top. If you find it is too soft chill it either in the freezer or fridge for 5-10 minutes. Cut the dough into even strips, 1 cm to 1.5cm wide (about the width of your finger), depending on how thick you want your lattice strips. Use a dinner knife or use a pizza wheel or a pastry wheel if you have one. Use a ruler or straight edge as a guide. I am not perfect at this yet, and it still tastes great even if the pastry strips don't look perfect. I only manage to roll out a piece big enough for 8 strips and it still worked out.
  14. LAY 4-6 strips parallel one way on your filling and 4-6 the other way. Fold back every other strip to make a lattice/ criss-cross pattern. Trim off any excess, fold over the bottom pie shell layer and press the lattice strips to form the edge. If you are using a fluted pie shell, you don't need to worry about needing to form any fancy edge. Take your rolling pin and press your rolling pin back over the edge of your tart tin and the rolling pin will trim off the edges. You can watch the video for further instructions.
  15. GLAZE with an egg wash or milk using a pastry brush and sprinkle with white sesame seeds.
  16. BAKE for 40-45 minutes until golden brown
  17. REST for 30-60 minutes before serving