Kale polenta

I spend lots of time over the week-end shopping and searching for new products, and cooking for my friends and family.

I like to try new things, experiment in the kitchen by combining unusual ingredients together and see how it turns out. I like to read about the history of Italian food and try to adapt it to my taste and preferences. Most of the time, I am pretty happy with what I come up with. On rare occasions, the result is less than satisfactory. And when I am disappointed with a meal I make, I definitely want to make up for it.

I felt I needed some forgiveness for the-less-than-decent-meal I put on the table the night before. This is when I decided to turn to this always-forgiving-and-comforting side dish that we had with homemade meatballs. After the first few bites, JB and I both agreed that I had been forgiven.

And we still have leftovers.

Polenta al cavolo nero

Polenta al cavolo nero

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Make the broth:

1 bunch dinosaur kale, washed
1.75 L water
1 onion, peeled
1 carrot, peeled
1 celery rib
2 cloves garlic
salt to taste


1. Cut the kale in four equal parts crosswise. Discard the hard stems from the bottom of the leaves.

2. Bring the water to boil and salt generously. Add all the vegetables, bring to boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil, and cook for 15-20 minutes.

3. Remove the kale and transfer to a colander to drain, reserving broth. Remove and discard other vegetables. Set the kale and broth aside (separately) and reserve.

 Make the polenta:

homemade vegetable broth (above)
1 1/4 cup polenta
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup parmesan
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, cut in half lengthwise
pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste


1. Bring the broth to boil. Add the polenta slowly, in a steady stream, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.

2. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook gently, stirring often, for 40 minutes. Add water if the polenta is too thick.

3. Towards the end of cooking, in a small skillet over medium heat, cook the garlic in the olive oil until golden, then discard. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook the kale, just enough to heat it through.

4. Add the milk and the parmesan to the polenta and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until hot. Add 2/3 of the reheated kale and mix well. Correct seasonings, transfer to a serving dish, and top with the 1/3 cup reserved kale. Serve immediately.

Polenta al cavolo nero e polpette

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