Broccoli Rapini with a
Garlic, Red Pepper and Lemon Rind Saute

Broccoli Rapini, also known as Broccoli Rabe, is another one of those flavorful but bitter vegetables that takes an acquired taste. Rapini is not a mild flavored green at all! Although it is more closely related to it's Chinese brother Brassica, the Italian cultivar is pungent with a nutty flavor but even more bitter than radicchio, another one of my favorite Italian vegetables. Rapini is common and now readily available across the continental borders but it hasn't always been. Common in China and Italy it is thought to have descended from the turnip family.

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


Juliana said...

Wow, what an interesting way to cook broccoli...with lemon, I definitely should try it since love everything that contains lemon...and garlic :-)

Pam said...

Beautiful! I love broccoli, garlic and lemon together.

Chow and Chatter said...

oh looks good to me what a great blog you have love the photos thanks for visiting mine


5 Star Foodie said...

I love the addition of lemon rind and garlic - such fantastic flavors for the broccoli rapini!

George Gaston said...

Laurie, what a spectacular way to fix broccoli rabe! This looks unbelievably delicious. Definitely have to give this recipe a try. Many thanks...

Bellini Valli said...

Sometimes the simplest preparations are the best!!

Lori Lynn said...

I'm a fan! Great idea, the lemon rind.
Excellent photos too!

Joanne said...

I LOVE broccoli rabe but have never had it prepared this way! We always had it in pasta with sausage when I was a kid. I definitely need to try your sounds great with the lemon.

Lele said...

Mmm I one time went out to dinner and wasn't really feelin' anything on the menu so just ordered side dishes, including one GIANT BOWL of broccoli rabe, and it was one of my favorite meals ever. It is succcccch a delicious, complex ingredient!

Cinnamon-Girl said...

Such delicious flavors for broccoli rabe! I bet the lemon just brightens everything right up.

Amy (Super Healthy Kids) said...

I'm always looking for new broccoli dishes! Thanks for this one. We've never tried it this way.

Proud Italian Cook said...

I love how that saute pan looks with the oil, red pepper and garlic sizzling away, you just know it's going to be good!