Monday, July 9, 2012

Rain, kale or shine

I would love to be one of those food bloggers that has the urban farm with the chickens, organic vegetables and a few goats to milk for cheese making. Alas I don’t have enough room. I have a small veggie patch that is fun to see things grow, but as far as sustainability goes, if we were relying on the veggie patch we’d be very thin!
I’m not very patient and my garden philosophy is “stick it in and hope for the best”. Alright, alright tomorrow I will get the patch in order that is if it has stopped raining. The rain is fantastic for the garden but also for the weeds!!

One sure fire hit in my garden is cavalo nero, kale or as my local supermarket are selling it “Tuscan cabbage”.  It loves the leave it alone approach, I pick off the leaf I need and then more just grow to replace it. You need to be careful of the number of L's in cavalo as 1 L's is kale and 2 L's is a black horse, a slightly different pasta.  

This dish is in the true cuccina povera style, whatever is on hand, make it into dinner. I am hopping by the end of the year to have chickens so not only will the eggs in the pasta be free-range they will be very, very local.

Zafferano pappardelle con cavolo nero  (saffron pasta with kale)

The pasta:

·         Put a pinch of saffron into an espresso glass (60ml) and fill with hot water, let seep for 20mins.

·         400g doppio zero 00 flour

·         4 large eggs (free-range, think of the poor ugly caged birds)

·         It has been many years since I have kneaded pasta by hand so I’d recommend doing it in either the food processor or kitchen mixer.

·         Combine ingredients and knead to a soft ball, a little more flour may be needed.

·         Let rest for 30 mins

·         Roll out as per pasta machine instructions and cut into 1.5 cm wide and 15 cm long strips.

The sauce:

·         40ml extra virgin olive oil

·         100g flat pancetta thinly sliced

·         1 clove of garlic finely diced.

·         1 bunch cavolo nero, chopped

·         1tbs verjuice

·         Season with salt and pepper

·         A big hand full of grated pecorino.


·         Boil pasta till al dente but 1 minute before it is ready put in the chopped kale.

·         While the pasta is cooking prepare the sauce

·         Heat the oil in a pan, add garlic and pancetta. The pancetta will crisp up and flavour the oil.

·         Add the verjuice.

·         Drain the pasta and cavalo nero and add to the sauce.

·         Add the pecorino, leaving a little bit for garnish.

·         Serve and enjoy

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