Sautéed Cavolo Nero with Nut Butter and Ricotta Salata


A trio of freshly toasted nuts blend into a nut butter with a silky and creamy base that still has plenty of crunch from the finely chopped nuts. A bright splash lemon juice, and salty, ricotta salata round out this simple but rich braise. The recipe was one prepared by Copenhagen chef Christian F. Puglisi at a week-long culinary retreat at Rocca delle Tre Contrade in Sicily.

Sauteed Cavolo Nero with Nut Butter and Ricotta Salata Recipe
Photo: Aubrie Pick
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
25 mins


  • 1/4 cup walnuts

  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts

  • 1/4 cup almonds

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 (1-pound) bunches cavolo nero (see Note)

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

  • 2 ounces ricotta salata cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until nuts are toasted, about 6 minutes.

  2. Place toasted nuts and olive oil in a food processor; pulse until nuts are finely chopped and a paste begins to form, about 10 pulses. Set nut butter aside.

  3. Remove and discard stems from kale. Tear kale into bite-size pieces (about 20 cups). Heat a large Dutch oven over high. Add kale, and cook, stirring constantly, 10 seconds. Add 1/2 cup water and butter, and cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is just tender and still bright green, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and toss with nut butter. Stir in lemon juice and salt. Transfer to a platter, and sprinkle with ricotta salata.

Make Ahead

Nut butter can be made up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.


Cavolo nero is also sold as Tuscan, lacinato, and dinosaur kale.

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