cime di rapa

healthy, aromatic and flavorful cime di rapa
healthy, aromatic and flavorful cime di rapa

BROCCOLI RABE, RAPINI, SPROUTING BROCCOLI. This s not a vegetable for the faint of heart. The taste is peppery, nutty, intensely green and slightly bitter. If overcooked it becomes unpleasantly bitter and mushy. Just like the world-famous rucola (or arugula or rocket) it needs a little attention in the preparation and pairing with other ingredients or dishes. Traditionally used with orecchiette pasta from Puglia, the rapini are wonderful also in combination with beans, roast meats and sausage.


  • 1/2 Kg (1 pound) cime di rapa
  • 1 large clove garlic chopped very finely or minced using a garlic press
  • 3 tablespoon EVO oil
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • chili pepper flakes to taste (optional)

Buy the cime di rapa when young and tender otherwise the stems will need a longer cooking time than the leaves. Cook the vegetables in boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 min. Drain and rinse quickly with cold water.

if perfectly cooked, the vegetables are still bright green and hold their shape

Using your hands,  squeeze lightly to remove excess water.  Chop roughly and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoon EVO oil in shallow skillet over low heat. Add garlic, chili pepper flakes and fennel seeds and sauté until fragrant, about 1/2 minute. Make sure that the garlic does not burn. Add the cime di rapa and sauté until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warm serving dish.

Serves 2-3

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