Kale sautéed with garlic and chilli

Kale sautéed with garlic and chilli

Cavolo Nero saltato con peperoncino e aglio

By
From
Rome
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

Bowls of dark green chicory leaves, usually boiled then sautéed in garlic and chilli, are to be found in every restaurant in Rome. Romans love them and, though they have an acquired bitter taste, they do give you a certain self-satisfied feeling of eating something healthy; a ‘you know you have had your greens and your mother would be pleased with you’ sort of feeling. However, more widely available here, and more to my taste, are kale or spinach, either of which can be used for this recipe. The beautiful dark-leaved cavolo nero, or ‘black kale’, is becoming more common over here, when it is in season, but any kale is fine.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 bunch cavolo nero, (black kale)
or 1kg spinach leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
1/2-1 red chilli, roughly sliced
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. If using kale, remove and discard the entire length of the stalk that runs down the length of the leaf, so that you are left with just the soft parts of each leaf. Wash them under cold water. Very roughly chop the kale or spinach leaves and cook them in a steamer or large saucepan of salted boiling water for 7–10 minutes for kale and 2–3 minutes for spinach until just cooked. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, add the garlic, chilli, a generous pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper. Fry for about 2 minutes until the garlic and chilli soften, but watch they don’t burn. Add the cooked kale or spinach and fry for around 5 minutes, stirring constantly, to ensure it is thoroughly coated in the chilli and garlic oil. If necessary, add a little more olive oil to stop it sticking. Transfer to a warmed dish and serve immediately.
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