Rapini, also known as Broccoli Rabe, is a superhero of vegetables! It boosts your immune system, improves digestion, protects your eyesight, supports heart health, strengthens bones and detoxes. This cruciferous vegetable (think cauliflower and broccoli) is a member of the “Brassica” family, and the entire plant (leaves, stems and buds) are edible. Rapini has a unique, sophisticated taste. It is sharp and flavorful. Its bitterness, indicative of a vegetable rich in vitamins (A, C and Folate), minerals (potassium and calcium), and cancer-fighting antioxidants, pairs perfectly with other strong flavors, such as lush olive oils, fragrant garlic, shallots and herbs. It’s no wonder this delicious and healthy vegetable is a major player in the Mediterranean diet!
Despite the word broccoli in its name, the abundant, jagged leafed bunch covering the occasional tiny heads of florets, is nothing like broccoli. Broccoli Rabe is a direct decedent of the beautiful mustard plants that grow in the spring along the hillsides of Messina, Sicily.
The D’Arrigo brothers, founders of the Andy Boy brand of vegetables, brought their seeds from Sicily to the United States. They have perfected many of the heritage vegetables, such as, fennel, artichokes and sweet baby cauliflower. They are a major supermarket supplier, so you should have no trouble finding this tasty nutritional powerhouse vegetable.
Roasting this leafy green tames the bitterness. I make this recipe when I want a simple side dish or turn it into a salad. After roasting, I chop it, add fresh tomatoes and toss with a good red wine vinegar, a drizzle of Extra-Virgin Olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper.
- 1/2 bunch broccoli rabe
- 3 Tablespoon (divided) Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Remove the tough ends of stems (about 1-inch) and discard. Rinse
well and pat dry. Place on a parchment-lined sheet pan in a single
layer. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, massaging oil into each piece. Season with salt and pepper.
- Using a small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon
olive oil and red pepper flakes with a fork. Scatter mixture over broccoli rabe.
Roast in preheated 425-degree oven approximately 10-12 minutes, until stems are tender. leaves will get crispy and slightly charred is ok.