Cavolo Nero is sold under quite a few different names such as Black Cabbage, Tuscan Cabbage and Curly Kale but whatever the name, it all refers to the same plant. Characteristically, it is quite similar to chard/silverbeet. It has a deeper flavour than spinach and unlike spinach, holds up well to being boiled.
I've utilised this boiling advantage of cavolo nero to make the filling for this stuffed Italian bread.
Schiacciata di Cavolo Nero e Tallegio
500 grams plain flour
7 grams dry yeast
pinch of sugar
250mls tepid water, approx
1 bunch cavolo nero, about 300 grams
1 small onion, finely diced
freshly grated parmesan
tallegio, broken into pieces
Make the dough:
Place the yeast and a pinch of sugar into a small bowl and add in enough tepid water to form a paste. Set this aside in a warm place for 5 minutes - if the yeast is okay, then the mix will have risen, if not, then you'll need to find some more yeast.
Sift the flour and a large pinch of salt together into a bowl - make a well in the center and add in the yeast mixture - stir and continue adding enough tepid water to form a soft pliable dough.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic - form into a ball. Place the dough into a large, oiled bowl and cover. Keep it in a warm place and allow to rise for a few hours.
Make the filling:
I've used both the leaf and stem in the filling - all you need to do is trim the ends and boil them in salted water until tender. Drain them well and then them into a small dice - take handfuls of the chopped cavolo nero and squeeze between your palms to remove any excess water.
Add a knob of buttter and a drizzle of oil to a pan and place over a low heat - tip in the onion and garlic and cook slowly until the onion has softened but not coloured. Add in the chopped cavolo nero and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Finish off with a small handful of grated parmesan, taste and then season with salt and pepper as desired.
This needs to cool completely before you can use it.
Assemble the dish:
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured board, knead very briefly to form a ball. Cut the dough into four.
Take one portion and roll out to form a rectangle - about 9x12 inches. Place the dough onto a lined tray and then sprinkle the base with a little more grated parmesan. Top with half of the filling - leaving a half inch border on all sides. Dot the surface with little nuggets of Tallegio before brushing the edges with a little water.
Roll out another portion to the same size and lay this carefully over the filling. Press the edges together and then run your fingers over the top of the dough to lightly dimple it - this should stop it from lifting off the filling. Lightly brush the top with a little olive oil and then sprinkle over with a little sea salt.
Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
Bake in a preheated 180°C oven until golden and cooked through - about 20 to 30 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.