Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pasta e rapini

I love rapini. This nicely tempered bitter-ish savoury green partners up with spicy chilies, garlic and oil like they have been together all their lives.

Rapini isn't bitter to an inedible level, but it is mellower and more flavourful by picking after cooler weather has set in. Sauteed with a firey chili and a clove of garlic, it is amazing mixed with soft polenta or tossed with pasta (and a drizzle of high quality olive oil).

I like a long pasta but one with grooves to pick up all the flavour in this 'sauce' is also good. I added the last of a batch of fresh homemade pork sausage, casings sliced open, diced and sauteed into the mix.

Rapini, aka rabe, broccoli rabe, broccoletti di rape, broccoletto, broccoli di foglia, or cime de rape. There is also a Chinese variety, a similar, but milder, green, known as choy sum, Chinese broccoli or Chinese flowering cabbage. No matter what you call it, this member of the turnip family also freezes well for use long after the bumper crop is harvested. Trim tough stalks and blanch or steam first.

Winter greens are a common dish in many parts of the Mediterraneo and are well suited to be grown elsewhere around the globe. Seasonality of even the humble salad makes a good arguement for the seasonal menu and eating local produce.

A great recipe for winter greens was posted on from the branches of an olive tree: Wish Recipe and also published in Wish magazine.

2 comments:

Kristina said...

Thanks for the plug Mary! I didn't know that rapini freezes well. It's a good idea and I'll save it up for that day and time when I will have my own garden....

Mary said...

You're welcome Kristina, it's a very good article and congrats again on being published.
Rapini freezes remarkably well. Although I eat enough of it when it is available, I sometimes get a craving for its delicious bitterness well before it is in season.