Saturday, May 06, 2006

Crostata di Cavolo Nero

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Cavolo Nero or Tuscan Kale - it's either sold whole, like this one or as a bunch of individual stalks. It's quite an elegant looking vegetable.

To prepare it, you would (if you have it whole) pull the stalks from the base. Then you'd cut the tougher parts of the stalk away from the leaf - though this doesn't need to be done for the inner leaves. Next it should be boiled in salted water for a few minutes to soften - it's a vegetable that appreciates being boiled. Drain and cool slightly before squeezing out any excess water - at this stage it's now ready to be used.

Today I'll be turning this into a tart and keeping with an Italian theme, I'll be incorporating Parmigiano and Ricotta into the filling and lightly spicing it with nutmeg.

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Crostata di Cavolo Nero/Cavolo Nero Tart

1 quantity Shortcrust pastry

200g Cavolo Nero (prepared weight after boiling)
1 red onion, sliced finely
2 garlic cloves, sliced finely

100g Ricotta
50g Parmigiano, grated (and some extra to sprinkle over the top)
2 eggs
freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

Prepare pastry tart:

Roll out the pastry until large enough to line a 12x34cm tin. If the dough breaks when lining the tin, use some of the off-cuts to fill the holes. Of course, you can make this in a square or round tin.

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Line the pastry with baking paper and fill with pie weights and let it rest at least an hour before cooking in a preheated 160°C/320°F oven until it's started to become golden and the base appears dry. Take it from the oven and remove the baking paper and weights and put to one side.

To make the filling:

In a frypan, heat up a good splash of olive oil and a knob of butter until the butter is melted. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until coloured and softened. Add the drained and squeezed Cavolo Nero and stir - you want the cavolo nero to pick up the flavours, so cook this for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and a grinding of nutmeg, then set aside to cool.

In a food processor, add the ricotta, Parmigiano and eggs and process until combined. Add the cooled filled and process again, using the pulse button. You want to chop the filling up a little - you don't want a smooth paste. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

To make the tart:

Dot the filling loosely over the baked tart shell, then using a fork, evenly spread the mixture. You don't want to pat the mixture down - try to keep it quite light. Generously sprinkle the surface with freshly grated nutmeg and Parmigiano.

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Bake in a preheated 160°C/320°F oven for around 20-30 minutes or until the surface is golden and the filling is heated through.

Slice and sprinkle over with a little more Parmigiano and serve with a salad for lunch.

It may seem a little involved but it can be prepared well in advance - just keep the filling and tart base separate until ready to bake.

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9 comments:

  1. I love the tart pan, it is so original, I bet you have a big oven though!

    Kale is not easily found in Europe (I have never found any). .I do it with 'blettes' which is a lot tenderer

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  2. It's one of my favourite shapes - but I just have a normal sized oven. I saw a lot of Cavalo Nero in Italy which probably isn't surprising but here in Australia, it's really only been available for the last few years but in limited supplies. This tart can be made with swiss chard or spinach or silverbeets - though spinach wouldn't need to be boiled.

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  3. Cavolo nero. Yep, I have two tiny little seedlings growing in yogurt cups on my balcony. Will check back on this recipe in October!

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  4. The only place I've found it is at the St Kilda's Farmers market, do you have another source?

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  5. Yep - Prahran Market - I got this bunch from Ripe the Organic Grocer but I also noticed Damian Pike (the mushroom man) offers it in cut bunches. They also have beautiful rainbow chard as well and even kale.

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  6. Cavolo nero is abundant here in Los Angeles in the wintertime and this is the perfect recipe to celebrate such a delicious vegetable. Thank you so much and YUM!

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  7. Thanks Wendy - it's a beautiful vegetable isn't it? You're so lucky to have it so freely available!

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  8. Haalo, this sounds like a terrific alternative to my usual spinach tart. I just recently bought a rectangular tart tin (loose bottom) similar to the one in the photo. I couldn't resist.

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  9. Thanks Nora - you can substitute Cavolo Nero for spinach quite easily, it's a little bit different but it's nice to change things every now and again. I just love this tin, it's a great shape - I also found a square one for those times I want to be totally symmetrical.

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