Slow Cooker

Suzanne Goin's Slow-Cooked Cavolo Nero (a.k.a. Tuscan Kale)

March 30, 2016
1 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Author Notes

You may have eaten your weigh in kale in the past few years (or few days), but you haven't had kale like this. It's the perfect antidote, the next time you have raw greens fatigue. It might be the only way you want to eat kale ever again.

Bon Appétit originally published this recipe as a base to go into stuffing, though it seems most people never make it there. Sara Forte at Sprouted Kitchen uses it as an omelette filling with goat cheese and Alexandra Stafford stretches it with breadcrumbs, pancetta, and a poached egg. Here, I served it with soba noodles and a medium-cooked egg. Adapted slightly from The A.O.C. Cookbook (Knopf, 2013). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound cavolo nero (Tuscan kale, about 4 small bunches), cleaned, center ribs removed
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small sprig rosemary
  • 2 dried chiles de árbol, broken into large pieces
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Working in batches, blanch the cavolo nero in the rapidly boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, let cool, and squeeze out excess water with your hands. Coarsely chop and set aside.
  2. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat for 2 minutes. Pour in 1/4 cup oil, and add the rosemary sprig and the chile. Let them sizzle in the oil for about a minute. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and add the sliced onion. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, and stir in the sliced garlic. Continue cooking for another 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until onion is soft and starting to color.
  3. Add the cavolo nero and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, stirring to coat the greens with the oil and onion. Season with a heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook the greens slowly over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring often, until they turn a dark, almost black color and get slightly crispy on the edges. Remove rosemary and chile before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Joanne Davies
    Joanne Davies
  • AntoniaJames
  • Kitty mccauley
    Kitty mccauley
  • LittleMissMuffin
  • Greenbeetlegirl
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

17 Reviews

A F. April 23, 2020
It's time this recipe was reviewed again. I have made this about 3 times over the last year and a half. And for some reason I've had to find it anew each time. No more! This past winter and spring we have had an embarrassment of Russian kale in the winter garden. I use slightly over a pound after it has been de ribbed. I also substitute a dried Ancho pepper sans seeds broken into quarters. I chuckle to read about removing the rosemary "sprig" at the end. There ain't no sprig left! the rosemary is in the dish and your teeth and it is wonderful. IMHO this dish is really more of a condiment. I could easily eat the entire quantity. However thinking of a quarter cup of olive oil slaps me with some respect. In an omelet, over a baked potato, tossed onto pasta with some pine nuts, ooooh it's so good and so sophisticated/decadent. Can't imagine there's any nutrition value left except for roughage after cooking time but I've actually eaten it on top of steamed kale and it works. Correction: quarter cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil tee-hee.

Joanne D. September 12, 2016
Yum!! I used shallot, basic chilli flakes and less oil. Cooked for about 15-20 mins because everything else was ready. Wonderful served with brown rice n beans and garlicky, parmesan-y crumbed schnitzel. Hubby loved it too :) Thanks!
Melindafab June 8, 2016
This is truly delicious. Thanks!
JoAnne L. April 13, 2016
This is the first Genius recipe that was an absolute fail for me. I've been vegan and gluten free for nine years so I'm always looking for recipes that fall into both categories. After reading the raves I had high hopes for this one. I followed the directions exactly but ended up with a pan of stringy, tough very oily kale. At our house there was no such thing as too much olive oil, there is now! The onion was good...
AntoniaJames April 11, 2016
Made this last night, using a bunch of lacinato and a bunch of regular green kale, a large onion, extra garlic. Used my large cast iron skillet, in which I had just cooked bacon and drained the fat (but kept the small bits). This dish garnered a unanimous two thumbs up rating. I squirreled away enough, before serving, to put on this soba, bacon, hard cooked egg and greens recipe I posted here last year: for lunch.

Here's an observation others may find helpful: When you squeeze a full bunch of kale hard to get out as much water as possible, you end up with a tight ball of kale that is about the size of a baseball. ;o)
Kitty M. April 11, 2016
This was very good, but I think I enjoyed eating the soft, sweet onion more than the kale.
evelyn April 6, 2016
This works so well with those packages of kale you get from Whole Foods and Trader Joe. The kale is chopped with bits of stem attached that are hard if you saute it. But this method cooks it down so much that the stems are soft. Instead of blanching, I cooked it for a minute in the microwave--no water to squeeze out--and it worked quite well.
LittleMissMuffin April 5, 2016
I had the pleasure of trying this at the restaurant last night. Very good and was surprised that it wasn't spicy at all, so my kids could (not necessarily will) eat it. Now wondering where I find these chiles de arbol.
Greenbeetlegirl April 5, 2016
Probably a weird question... But, why blanch the kale first? Is this a necessary step, as opposed to just sautéing the kale from fresh? Just wondering... Thanks for any insight you may have on the subject...
Julie U. April 4, 2016
Used this in a soup with ham, navy beans, & mushrooms. My husband loved the soup, and he usually hates kale, so yay!
A. April 3, 2016
I've a package of dried chiles de arbol for a while now, and this will be the perfect use for them! Can't wait to try it!
Paul April 3, 2016
How funny. Actually I have had kale like this. I've cooked almost exactly this (minus the rosemary and with shallots rather than onion) for myself the last 2 days in fact (yep, blanche, wring out, long cook in olive oil with sweated shallots, garlic and chilli) and I was just freestyling it but it seems a pretty natural thing to do with kale to me and I can confirm it tastes great. Had it with a poached egg one time too. I like the idea of combining it with soba noodles.

It's very nicely timed to have it pop up in my mailbox the day after having a bit of a binge on it and to see that it's popular with a respected chef.
anne April 3, 2016
Dried or fresh chiles? Looks great, thanks!
jn April 19, 2016
it would not hurt if the recipes were a little more specific. like specifying DRIED chiles, or telling you to slice the kale, so it doesn't end up in stringy blobs. it's a frustrating waste of time when recipes are written for cooks to read between the lines. I'm happy to free-style, but give me something clear to work off of.
Kristen M. April 21, 2016
jn, I've updated the recipe to be clearer—apologies for any frustration.
Gilliwinks April 3, 2016
How is this with regular kale?
Damiana April 4, 2016
It's great - I've tried cooking turnip and mustard greens in a similar way as well, and it was awesome.