This recipe is perfect for the early summer when cavolo nero or kale is in plentiful supply. The salty acidity from the cheese, lime and capers works so well with the slightly bitter minerality of the dark green leaves, rich in iron.
The trick here is to add enough of the pasta cooking water to ensure a creamy light sauce that envelops the pasta strands.
- 125g stalk free cavolo nero or kale, sliced into 1cm thick strips
- 200g dried spaghetti
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 1.5 tbsp black olives, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp capers, rinsed
- 1 lime, juice and zest (kept separately)
- 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 100g feta cheese, crumbled
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the prepped cavolo or kale and boil for a couple of minutes or until the leaves are tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove the leaves from the pan and allow them to drain in a colander.
Bring the water back to the boil and add the spaghetti. Cook following the instructions on the packet. Just before it’s ready, remove a large ladleful of the starchy cooking liquid and keep to one side. Drain the pasta.
Place the pan back on the heat to drive off any moisture. Add the extra virgin olive oil followed by the garlic, capers and olives. Cook on a medium heat for a minute or two until the garlic begins to brown. Add the lime zest and quartered tomatoes. Cook for a further minute and then add the cavolo back into the pan with a generous pinch of salt and some freshly milled black pepper. Cook for 2 minutes to bring the cooked leaves back up to temperature. Stir regularly.
Add the drained pasta to the pan along with the lime juice and half a ladle of the reserved starchy pasta water. Add most of the feta and turn the heat up to high. Stir well to allow the feta to break down in the pan juices. Add a little more of the pasta water if the pan feels a little too dry. Cook for a couple of minutes, tossing it all together regularly until the liquid thickens slightly and you have a sauce that clings to the pasta strands.
Transfer to a bowl, drizzle over some more extra virgin olive oil and the remains of the feta. Serve.