Home-made tagliatelle with Tuscan kale pesto
5 from 1 vote

Tuscan kale pesto

The combination of cavolo nero and nuts works magnificently in a winter pesto. Sturdy cavolo nero stands in for summer-y basil leaves, while a handful of almonds is a good replacement for more expensive pine nuts
Course Dressing for pasta
Cuisine Tuscan
Keyword cavolo nero, pesto, tuscan kale
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 - 10 people


  • 500 g (1.1 lb) cavolo nero, Tuscan kale
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 200 ml (3/4 cups) extra virgin olive oil , + 2 tablespoons
  • 150 g (1 cup) almonds
  • 100 g (1 cup) aged Tuscan pecorino
  • Salt


  • Strip the leaves off of the cavolo nero and remove the fibrous stalks. Rinse the leaves under running water and gather them in a large pan with two tablespoons of oil and a whole clove of garlic. It will seem like a lot of cavolo nero, but it tends to shrink. You don’t need to preheat the oil.
  • Cook the cavolo nero over medium heat, turning it often with a wooden spoon, for about 5 minutes, until it softens. Remove the cavolo nero from the pan and let it cool down.
  • Toast the almonds in a pan for about 5 minutes, tossing them often. Let them cool down, too.
  • Transfer the cavolo nero to a food processor, along with the almonds. Blend, adding the olive oil in a thin stream, until you get a smooth and thick, dark green pesto.
  • Scrape the pesto into a bowl, add the grated pecorino cheese, and season with salt, if necessary. If it is still too thick, add more olive oil.
  • Use it immediately or keep it in the fridge for a couple of days, covered with a film of olive oil to prevent it from blackening.
  • If you want to use the cavolo nero pesto to dress pasta, put a few tablespoons of pesto in the bottom of a bowl and dilute it with some pasta water, to emulsify it into a sauce, then toss in the pasta.
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