Rigatoni with Cavolo Nero

Rigatoni with Cavolo Nero


Struggling with what to cook for the next meal?  Pasta is always a glorious go-to.  Think of it as a white canvas on which to create anything your imagination allows.  Today the king of the dish will be Cavolo Nero, a loose leafed cabbage, or kale typical to Tuscany.  Ready to prepare a simple, quick yet very delicious pasta dish with this wonderful power green?  Let’s get started!   



  • 600 grams Cavolo Nero – also called kale or Lacinato
  • 400 grams Rigatoni pasta by Barilla
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Hot pepper flakes or 1 hot pepper to give some heat 
  • 25-30 grams pine nuts
  • 10 grams capers (optional) 
  • 130 grams Tuscan Pecorino – not Pecorino Romano but Tuscan Pecorino. Parmigiano Reggiano is also a good substitute for Pecorino
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon salt for the pasta water
  • Juice of a lemon 


  1. Preheat the Mangiafuoco Home Gas Pizza Oven to 375°F – 190°C.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt.
  3. Shred the pecorino cheese and set aside.
  4. Wash the leaves of the Cavolo Nero and remove the harder middle stalk, as shown in the video.  Don’t discard the center stalks as they can be chopped finely and used in soups, or they can be sautéed separately since they need extra time, and then added to the finished dish.
  5. In the meantime place the pine nuts in a small skillet and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes stirring every 2-3 minutes.  When the oil is released and they become shiny and slightly golden remove from the oven and place in a bowl to cool. 
  6. Chop the Cavolo Nero into strips about 1″ thick, and immediately place in the boiling water for about 7 minutes.  When time is up remove from the water and transfer into a large bowl with water and ice.  This will stop the cooking and allow the Cavolo Nero to retain its vibrant green color. 
  7. Drizzle olive oil into a large skillet and sauté the minced garlic and hot pepper flakes in the pre-heated oven just until it begins to sizzle. 
  8. With a perforated ladle transfer the cooked Cavolo Nero over the garlic.  Salt and stir thoroughly to combine all ingredients. 
  9. Strain the pasta when still ‘al dente’, and stir it with the Cavolo Nero.  Place one or two ladles full of the starch, rich pasta water to the dish, and allow to cook for an additional minute or two while constantly stirring.
  10. Turn the heat source off, and add the shredded cheese over the pasta.  Mix once again and serve immediately.  To finish the plated dish add a good drizzle of olive oil, some shaved pecorino and a nice squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  Enjoy! 

Buon Appetito!

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