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5 from 4 votes

Healthy Pesto Pasta Sauce With Cavolo Nero and Fusilli

Healthy pesto pasta sauce made with cavolo nero (Tuscan kale) and giant fusilli pasta. It's a super easy, filling and healthy dinner recipe.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 420kcal
Author: Emily Wyper


  • 10.5 oz (300g) raw cavolo nero (Tuscan Kale)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 11.2 oz (320g) giant fusilli pasta
  • flaked almonds , for topping


  • Wash the cavolo nero in cold running water to remove any dirt then blanch in a pot of boiling water for around 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water then squeeze as much water out as possible. *See note 1
  • Make sure to remove any larger, chunky stalks from the cavolo nero then add it to a food processor with freshly grated parmesan, pine nuts, garlic peeled but still whole, nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.
  • Blitz to a thick paste adding 2 tablespoon of water while the motor is running to loosen (water will be added later).
  • When you're ready to make the pasta, boil it in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente (follow packet instructions).
  • Reserve 2 cups of pasta water.
  • Drain the pasta and add it back to the hot pot. Add a couple spoonful of cavolo nero pesto to the pasta and gradually add the reserved pasta water until it coats the pasta evenly. *see note 2.
  • Serve in bowls and top with flaked almonds.


  • (1) 200g (7 oz) cooked weight of cavolo nero
  • Use a salad spinner to squeeze the water out or place the cavolo nero in a clean tea towel, pinch the four corners together and shake the water out.
  • (2) You won't need all the water. Add more pesto to your liking and adjust the texture with more pasta water.
  • To make this dish healthier use wholegrain pasta.


Calories: 420kcal