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Enjoy a comforting cavalo nero risotto

Alexandra Dudley
·2-min read
Photo credit: Alexandra Dudley
Photo credit: Alexandra Dudley

From Town & Country

Cavallo nero and golden sultana risotto

Serves four

Cavallo nero, also known as Lacinato kale, is the taller, darker Italian cousin of curly kale. With its dark, dinosaur-grooved leaves, it is easily recognisable. Cavallo nero has a rich and earthy taste, but is slightly sweeter than regular kale. One can enjoy it blanched and drizzled with olive oil or pan fried with butter, chilli and garlic. It can be eaten raw in salads or cooked into soups as is common tradition in what is perhaps cavallo nero’s most synonymous region, Tuscany. I confess I do enjoy it most ways but one of my favourites has to be in this risotto. The colour is a captivating green, its texture creamy and comforting (as all risottos should be) and its flavour rich and almost nutty with pops of subtle sweetness owing to the golden sultanas.


4 tbsp olive oil

1 small white onion, finely chopped

Large bunch cavallo nero (about 240g), woody bits trimmed and roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

200g Arborio rice

200ml dry white wine

500ml chicken/vegetable stock

40g golden sultanas

Zest of 1 lemon

100g Grana Padano, grated

50g butter

Sea salt

To serve:

Grated Grana Padano

Olive oil


Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the chopped cavallo nero and boil for three mins until cooked. Drain and refresh with cold water a couple of times before draining again and transferring to a high speed blender (I use a nutribullet, but a magimix or even handheld stick blender would work).

Add one tablespoon of olive oil and blitz until you have a purée. You may need to a couple of tablespoons of stock to loosen the mix.

Heat the remaining three tablespoons of oil in pan and add the finely chopped onion. Cook gently until soft and translucent (about five, six mins)

Add the garlic and a good pinch of salt and cook for a further two minutes.

Add the rice and sultanas and cook for a further minute, stirring as you do. Then, pour in the white wine and allow the alcohol to cook off and liquid to absorb, while continuing to stir.

Slowly add the stock, ladle at a time stirring regularly and only adding more stock when the liquid has nearly absorbed.

Test the rice after 15 minutes. It should be al dente and almost cooked. Cooking times vary, but it shouldn’t take longer than 20 minutes. You may not need all the stock.

Add the puréed cavallo nero and lemon zest (and a little more stock if you feel the risotto needs loosening) and stir until the risotto is warm and beginning to simmer again.

Switch off the heat and add the butter and grated Grana Padano.

To serve, spoon into bowls and drizzle with good quality olive oil. Sprinkle with a little flaked sea salt and shave over some more Grana Padano.