Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Nonna's Rappini!

Nonna's Rappini

One of my all-time favorite vegetables and a super vegetable packed with vitamins is rappini, or as they are referred to in the US broccoli rabe. These are Italian broccoli (although technically from the turnip family, I believe) that are very high in vitamins and nutrients.

Pre-sauteing (optional)
You can blanch them in salted boiling water first to cut the bitterness, but those who truly appreciate the plant love its bitterness. It is what gives it its unique flavor in my opinion.

  • 2 stalks of broccoli cleaned ( you should discard the outer tougher leaves but the stems and stalks if cleaned can be used. Just remove the outer layer of the peel if using the stalks.)
  • 2-4 garlic cloves ( really as much as you like depending on your taste)
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons of pure extra virgin olive oil
  • salt (to taste) but about a teaspoon
  • black pepper (to taste) about 1/2 teaspoon
  • cayenne pepper (to taste) about 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1 - 2 cups of water (depending upon how soft you like the vegetable)
Clean the rappine by removing the tougher stalks. The smaller stalks can be used but I found it best to remove the outer layer by peeling it off. Cut both the stalks and leaves in half, to bite sized pieces.

In a deep skillet, saute the garlic in the olive oil and then carefully place the rappini. Use caution in this step as the hot oil and wet rappini may splatter. Add 1 cup of water to the pan.

Cook over medium / high heat until the rappini have wilted. Continue to add water once it evaporates and lower the heat to medium. Cook the rappini until very tender or to the tenderness that you like. I like them very wet and very tender so I add additional water and cook them for about a half hour.

Serve with great crusty bread so you can enjoy the sauce and dip the bread into it. We call dipping the bread into the sauce of any great dish, "scarpetta". It translates to "little shoe" because you scoop up the great flavors that way.