Thursday, November 01, 2007

Orecchiette with Cavalo Nero



500g orecchiette pasta (I couldn't get Orecchiette, but found a similiar shape)
500g Cavalo Nero, turnip tops, or young purple sprouting broccoli
6Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp crushed dried chillies
6 anchovy fillets in oil
Freshly grated pecorino or parmesan cheese to serve (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring 4.5 liters of water to a boil in a large saucepan with 8 tsp salt. Meanwhile trim any large stalks from the cavalo nero and cut any large leaves into approximately 10cm pieces.
Add pasta to the boiling water and cook for 12 minutes. Four min before the pasta is done, add the cavalo nero to the pan and cook for the remaining time, until the greens are tender and the pasta is Al Dente.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes into a large deep frying pan and place over a medium heat. As soon as the garlic begins to sizzle, leave it to cook for a few seconds and then add the anchovy fillets and break them up with a wooden spoon until they have “melted” into the oil. Remove from the heat.
Drain the past and cavalo nero and just before all the water has drained off of them , add them to the frying pan and toss together well. Place over a high heat and shake around for a few seconds until the cooking liquid still clinging to the pasta and leaves has amalgamated with the oil and the cooked leaves to create a sauce. Sprinkle if cheese if using.

I got this recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes. It’s not the most adventurous recipe in the world, but for a long time I’ve been seeing references to Cavalo Nero. Mostly it pops up in Italian cookbooks, a lot of the time I see it in stews and soups. Anyway, I’ve been wondering about it for quite some time, and then all of a sudden they started carrying it in my local supermarket. I chose this recipe because I figured it would hi-lite, and not overpower the Cavalo Nero.

It is a nice green, I really liked it a lot, It’s very hearty. I’d say it’s kind of like Kale, but with a less bitter, almost nutty flavor. It’s got tons of character, and it carried this dish well. Unfortunately it’s a bit expensive, as it’s obviously a specialty item, but if they keep stocking it, I’d buy it again.

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