Growing up in California we didn't see this vegetable until later in years, but my mothers preparation for broccoli is much like the traditional saute preparation for rapini. Rapini I have seen prepared in a number of ways, but the most common is sauteed in garlic, red pepper and olive oil. I take it a step up and thinly slice and chop lemon rind and add that to my saute also.
For the lemon preparation I take two small lemons and closely peel them away from the pith. The pith is bitter and adds a most offensive taste when not disposed of. I then finely chop the rind.
Finely chop 1 plump clove of garlic.
In a saute pan, add 1/4 cup plus two Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil and garlic. Slowly brown till garlic just starts to turn color, add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and continue to saute for 30 seconds.. then add the chopped lemon rind. Turn heat off but leave pan on the burner. The heat from the oil and garlic will draw the flavors from the lemon rind without burning the peel adding a beautiful bouquet.
Rapini is sold in a bunch with a tie around it, one bunch usually does it for my family because the kids have not yet acquired a taste for it. Rinse your rapini well. After you rinse it, cut off around two inches from the bottom.
For preparation have a bowl filled with ice water. In a large skillet or pot, boil enough water to just cover your vegetable. Add salt to the water and wait till it comes to a rapid boil. Add rapini and par boil for three minutes. Take out and put in the cold water. This will stop the cooking process as well as maintain the bright and beautiful color of your greens. Drain well and pat dry with a towel before you saute it in the hot oil.
When rapini is drained, add it to the pan that you sauteed your garlic, red pepper and lemon rind in. Turn the heat on and saute coating all sides of the rapini. With the lemon that you peeled the rind from, squeeze the juice over the sauteing vegetables. The rapini should be salted enough if you added salt to the water you boiled your vegetables in.
Serve in a flat dish with lemon wedges.
1 -2 bunches Broccoli Rapini (rabe)
2 small lemons
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Large or 2 small cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
juice of 1 lemon