A lot of people have a hard time getting enough calcium and iron in their diets. Dark, leafy green vegetables such as kale, swiss chard, mustard greens and spinach are a great source for both as well as many other important nutrients. For this reason, and also because I think they're all delicious, I usually pick up a bunch of greens each week at the grocery store. This is my favorite way to eat them because it is so simple and I always have the ingredients on hand. Rapini, also called broccoli rabe, is a bitter-flavored leafy green stalk with clusters of small broccoli-like florets. You may need to travel to a specialty store to find it; if not, you can make this recipe with broccoli, kale or any similarly robust leafy green vegetable.
Risotto con Finocchio
Rapini with Garlic
Dark, Grainy Bread
Chilled Italian White Wine


1 large bunch rapini (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions

Trim the ends of the rapini and discard any yellow or withered leaves. Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, peel the bottom sections of the thicker stems. Cook the rapini in a large pot of salted boiling water until crisp-tender (about 2 minutes.) Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain again and pat dry with a kitchen towel to remove as much excess water as possible.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for about 1 minute. Add the rapini and cook until heated through (about 5 minutes.) Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings



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Always wash your greens thoroughly in a large tub of cold water to remove any sand or dirt. If your greens are very dirty, you may need to wash them several times to remove all of the dirt.

Blanching the rapini first in boiling water helps to remove some of the bitter flavor. If you find that you are turned off by the bitterness of greens, you can use this method any time you are preparing greens, whether for a stir-fry, casserole, or simply on their own.

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