Cabbage pasta with extra-virgin olive oil

All you really need for this dish is a packet of pasta, a cabbage, garlic and some oil. It couldn't be simpler to make, and yet it has to be one of the most delicious and elegant pasta dishes ever created. It also has the advantage of taking not much more than 15 minutes to get to your table, which makes it incredibly useful when you're not feeling patient. We used a savoy cabbage this time, but almost any cabbage (maybe not red...) would work - cavolo nero is the classic option as its slight bitterness works beautifully with really good oil. Try hispi cabbage, a mix of whatever you can find, or even those salad packets of mixed rocket, spinach and watercress. A few handfuls of Parmesan would be ideal, but it tastes wonderful without if you don't have any or would prefer to leave it out. Don't stint on the oil, however, it plays a crucial role.

Cabbage pasta with extra-virgin olive oil

Cabbage pasta with extra-virgin olive oil

Serves 4–6

400g spaghetti, penne or farfalle
2 garlic cloves, peeled
300g savoy, cavolo nero or hispi, leaves stripped off stem
150ml extra-virgin olive oil
3 handfuls of grated Parmesan, plus a little extra to serve

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.

Meanwhile, in another large pan, bring some salted water to the boil with the garlic cloves. When it's boiling, add the cabbage leaves and cook for 5–7 minutes until completely tender. Drain, reserving the garlic.

Transfer the cabbage and garlic to a blender or food processor and blitz to a fine purée. Add the olive oil and Parmesan, then blitz again and season to taste. You should have a glossy and rich green sauce.

Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking water. Toss the sauce through the pasta, loosening it with a little cooking water so the sauce clings to the pasta. Finish with another drizzle of olive oil and a dusting of Parmesan.