Monday, April 14, 2008

BROCCOLI RABE aka RAPINI

I don’t know where to file this document, under cooking or La Famiglia. Four days ago my cousins Joan and Danny, and Joan’s husband Angelo, arrived in Paducah with 3 coolers filled to capacity with fresh broccoli rabe. They left New Jersey the day before to make this 16 hour trip to visit Patience and me. The timing of the trip was determined by the readiness of he broccoli rabe in the field. Being very insightful, they realized when I drooled and trembled all over on my visit to NJ last spring at the sight of broccoli rabe growing in the field behind their home that I loved that green delicacy. The only place we can find it here is 21/2 hours away in Nashville. How lucky am I to have such thoughtful cousins! In addition to the B R they brought salami, capocolla, and prosciutto from Giovanni’s deli back home. I have been in culinary heaven since then.

And what a delightful visit it was, Thursday night we had broccoli rabe, sausage and portabello mushrooms for dinner. Fridays lunch was salami, capocolla, prosciutto, and cheese with fresh bread, and dinner was penne pasta with broccoli rabe, with sausage and chicken on the side. Saturday we went “local”, with brunch at the Stranded Cow, a favorite Lowertown cafe, and dinner at home with some take out barbecue pork and ribs.

Oh, and in between the eating and drinking (did I mention the wine?) we visited with one another and made the rounds of the Lowertown galleries and of course the Quilt museum and the river heritage museum.

The cousins left this morning, and in their honor we feasted on open face sandwiches of leftover pork barbecue with...you guessed it...broccoli rabe and mushrooms.

Cooking the broccoli rabe is fairly simple. The leaves and smaller stems are sautteed in garlic and olive oil, either directly (my personal preference) or after blanching (softens the characteristic bitterness of the plant). The garlic is cooked briefly, with or without red pepper flakes, the broccoli rabe added to the pan and covered, and cooked over moderately low heat with occassional stirring. Attention is needed to prevent overcooking...the leaves turn dark green and/or the garlic is burnt. The resulting greens can be served alone, as a side dish, or over pasta,drizzled with a little extra olive oil.


The cousins...Angelo,me, Danny,and Joan who will kill me when she sees this photo.

2 comments:

Joe Stains said...

At least when Joan kills you, you will have a stomach full of delicious food ;)

timeisoftheessence said...

I must tell you, it was the weirdest thing! Tonight I turned on the Rachael Ray thing on Food Network and guess what she was cooking? Broccoli Rabe with sausage! Don't know about all that stuff! Can't wait to get me some home grown POTATOES!!!!