10 years ago I chose to be a teacher of Private Cooking Classes and a Chef for Vacation, thanks to the places I live. I founded my company “Cuoche in Vacanza” and for the most part, I choose my suppliers among the farmers.
My great fortune is to live in the countryside between Pisa and Lucca, a land rich in cultivated fields, vegetable gardens, and woods.
Franca, my trusted supplier
Franca is a peasant woman who set up a fruit and vegetable shop at the bottom of her husband’s fields. Imagining the taste of Franca’s vegetables is impossible.
Do you know why? She and her husband collect the vegetables when they are still small and tender. Once the plant dies they plant another veg.
The black Tuscan kale is typical of Tuscany; it is a symbol of this rough and tasty land, like the farmers who live there.
Think that my granny Amossina, when she left the countryside to live in Pisa, she cultivated Tuscan kale on the terrace.
You know, there are many recipes with black cabbage, from croutons of bread and garlic to the bordatino soup. Yet the recipe I am about to write to you was unknown to me, until a few days ago. It is a simple and fresh sauce because it is made with raw kale!
Now you must know that the Tuscan kale is very leathery once it is grown. Precisely for this reason, it is cooked for a long time, even if slowly.
And here Franca told me about the recipe for fresh Tuscan kale pesto.
Well, if the pesto of Tuscan kale is still a delicious sauce for pasta if you make it with the leaves still small then … it’s amazing!
Do you know the classic Pesto, the one with basil? Well, the procedure is the same, but here it is Tuscan kale.
I’m a chef for vacation and a new season of work will start soon. Spring is coming and unfortunately, here the Tuscan kale loves cold weather. I’m saying unfortunately because it is almost impossible to find it in Summer, for my cooking classes or private dinners.
So I decided to grow it in my small vegetable garden, maybe it will not last until August, but at least until June, it will arrive. Getting my customers to taste the typically Tuscan ingredients and dishes is a must for me.
And so, as a chef for Vacation, the Tuscan kale will not fail from our course menus and dinners.
- if you do not have the Tuscan kale in small leaves, remove the leathery parts, such as the central green stem.
- Toast the pine nuts in a pan and let them cool. Always toast dried nuts!
- Unlike the classic pesto, in this case, you can add chili. It is great!
- Don’t forget that this is still a Pesto, add Parmesan and pecorino Romano Cheese if you want it gorgeous!
- While using the blender, always incorporate the oil flush from the top so that it takes as much air as possible. This causes the pesto to become more and more creamy.
Well, this is my favorite kind of dried pasta for Tuscan kale pesto: Rigatoni
Furthermore, this is my fav dried pasta Brand: Rummo
Do you know another vegetable with which to make a fresh pesto? Please inform me, I’m always looking for new recipes.
- 10 regular leaves of Tuscan kale (or 20 small leaves)
- ⅓ cup (40 gr) pine nuts
- 5 tbsp (80 ml) extra virgin oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 tbsp (50gr ) grated Parmesan Cheese
- 3 tbsp (50 gr) grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- to taste fresh chili pepper
- to taste salt
- 1 glass salted pasta water
- Toast the pine nuts in a pan and let them cool
- with a kitchen knife, chop coarsely the kale leaves (this avoid to oxide the leaves when the blender works too much time)
- put the chopped leaves in the bowl of a food processor with the garlic, chili pepper, ¾ of water;
- add half glass of salted water
- pulse pouring the extra virgin oil until reaching the right and creamy consistency
- Taste and add salt if necessary
- Pour more salted water if necessary and mix again
- Store in a jar, covering the surface with oil. 4 days max or freeze it.