There are several other terms for this dark kale, with cavolo nero, black cabbage, Tuscan kale, and dinosaur kale among them. More important than its name is its role in Campania’s culinary history. While Americans tend to treat this kale as a novelty, similar greens, boiled and seasoned with anchovy, have been eaten in and around Naples since the Middle Ages, predating pasta and pizza as classic Campanian dishes.
The key to braising the greens in this book is to blanch them long enough. If the kale is blanched adequately, you won’t have to cook it for very long with the soffritto. If you have undercooked the kale in the blanching process, simply ladle in water and continue to cook the kale with the soffritto until the leaves are tender. If lacinato kale is unavailable, regular kale or chard is a fine substitute. The soffritto, which will keep in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, is also delicious with green beans.