Sautéed rapini is a simple side dish of Italian style broccoli. It is very nutritious, a tiny bit bitter, and definitely one of my favorite green vegetables. Use it in pasta and polenta dishes, too!
Originally published September 12, 2012
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Whether you call it rapini, broccoli raab or just rabe–this green vegetable is worth getting to know!
What is Rapini?
For those of you who don’t know what rapini are or what it looks like, it’s a type of Italian broccoli. It’s more leafy and with a little sharpness in its flavor than American/British broccoli. Also sometimes referred to as “rabe” (pronounced “rah-beh”) or “broccoli raab”, it is a green cruciferous vegetable. Rapini have small heads of florets, similar to broccolini, but with many more leaves (all the parts are edible).
I absolutely LOVE these greens! I would call it the “adult” version of standard broccoli–although, as you will learn below, I gave it to my children while they were still babies.
My Daughter’s Crazy, Goat-Hating Pediatrician
When my daughter was almost 12 months old, I took her to a new pediatrician for a well-visit check up. The doctor asked all the routine questions like what my daughter was eating, how she was sleeping, along with other developmental questions.
I told her that I was weaning her and had been supplementing her diet with goat milk.
The pediatrician was visibly shocked, and asked,
“Why goat’s milk?”
To which I responded,
“For one thing, it’s more easily digestable than cow’s milk.”
So, she asked me what was wrong with formula. I gave her my opinion (basically that I preferred to give my daughter something natural as opposed to something created in a science lab) to which she obviously disagreed.
The pediatrician went on to tell me that goat’s milk doesn’t contain any folates. She also declared, with disgust in her voice, that my daughter was the only infant in her practice who was “on goat’s milk!” With one last insult, she exclaimed, “And goats are such ugly animals!” I swear, she actually said this! At this point, I realized she was grasping at straws.
So, I informed this “doctor” that I was also sure that my daughter was also the only infant in her practice who was eating rapini which happens to be full of folates.
Not only was it unprofessional of this pediatrician to discuss an animal’s “looks” to defend her case, but what a total loser: goats are absolutely adorable!
Needless to say, that was my first and last visit to that pediatrician. I might add that my daughter has grown to 5’8″ in height, was almost never ill, or had an ear infection, and was rarely given antibiotics! Take that, you goat-hater pediatrician! 😝
Try this classic Italian rapini pasta with your sauteéd rapini!
Sautéed rapini is a good introduction to the vegetable if you’ve never had it before, but be sure to eat it with some fresh, crusty bread. It has a strong flavor, and I think you’ll find, you may want some bread alongside it.
Another recipe using rapini: rapini and besciamella orecchiette
recipe is one that is used by Italians all over Italy serves 4 as a side dish
FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW
How to Sauté Rapini
Wash the rapini well, then cut the dense, bottom of the stems off and discard.
Slice into the bottom stem so that it will cook more quickly.
Add the rapini (cut in half if the bunch is really long) along with the water from the final rinse (don’t dry them).
Turn the greens quickly, then cover and sauté for a few minutes, occasionally turning. Add salt to taste. Lower the heat, if necessary.
Don’t overcook the rapini, the stalks should still be a bit firm/crunchy when done. Check doneness after about 3 minutes.
The best way to test the rapini is to pierce a stalk and taste a leaf for salt. Remove from heat when the greens are ready. The rapini will look like this.
How to Use or Serve Sauteéd Rapini
This makes a fantastic side for almost any dish. Next time you want to serve broccoli, spinach or green beans as a side, try rapini for a change. But don’t be shy; use rapini in sandwiches, like this porchetta (pork) panino!
My daughter and I love sautéed rapini so much, we had a bowl of soup for dinner the other night, and then an entire bowl of rapini afterwards instead of a salad (of course served with homemade Italian bread!)
I failed to mention the wonderful nutritional benefits to eating rapini! It’s full of all sorts of vitamins and minerals. You should be able to find rapini in any large grocery store, if not, Whole Foods should have it in their produce department.
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- one bunch of rapini, washed and trimmed (do not remove the stalks entirely, just tips)
- 2 or 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large or 3 smaller cloves of garlic
- 2 or 3 tbsp of water
- salt, preferably Kosher or sea salt
- (optional: crushed red pepper flakes, or fresh/dried cayenne pepper)
- Put the oil, garlic and pepper in a frying pan over medium high heat. Cook until garlic just starts to brown.
- Add the rapini (cut in half if the bunch is really long) along with the water.
- Turn the greens quickly, then cover and sauté for a few minutes, occasionally turning. Add salt to taste. Lower the heat, if necessary.
- Don't overcook the rapini, the stalks should still be a bit firm/crunchy when done; after 5 or 6 minutes is probably when I would first check to see if it's ready. The best way to check is to taste a piece (and check for salt too.)
- Remove from heat when ready.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4 oz
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 87Unsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 4g
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