Sunday, June 2, 2013
Known as rapini or sometimes called broccoli rabe, this bright green vegetable may look a little like tiny broccoli, but in fact, it's a member of the mustard family. This bitter green is very popular in Italian cuisine and it is loaded with vitamin K, which helps with many important functions in your body including helping to heal wounds, maintain blood vessels and healthy bones. Vitamin K may also help in preventing broken bones, especially in post menopausal women. It's also a good source of vitamins A & C and Folate. And, to top it all off, it's delicious!
When I first discovered this little gem, I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. I pretty much just stuck to using it with pasta dishes. I read that it could be cooked up numerous ways and I wanted to expand my rapini offerings.
Looks good, doesn't it? It tastes even better! After a few tries, I think I've got this one perfected. Hell, even Jim likes it! It's a nice versatile side that can be served with just about anything.
When buying rapini, choose bunches that are nice and green with compact buds. Some may have a bit of yellow flower showing, but that is A-OK.
Balsamic Rapini with Sun-dried Tomatoes
1 bunch rapini
2 tbsp. slivered almonds
3 tbsp. sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. salt
1-2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Wash rapini, trim off the bottom part of the stem. You can leave the stalks whole, but I prefer to cut them in half.
Bring a pot of water to boil and add rapini. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from water and drain.
Place a small non-stick skillet over medium heat and toss in the almonds. Stir occasionally until nicely toasted. Set aside.
If using oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, pat off excess oil, thinly slice and set aside. If using non-oil packed, then thinly slice and place in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit for approx. 3-4 minutes to soften, then drain.
In a large deep skillet or wok, heat olive oil. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Add more red pepper flakes if you want it a bit spicier. Once the garlic has softened, add the drained rapini, almonds, tomatoes and salt. Stir until hot and to and incorporate all the ingredients. Finish with a splash of balsamic vinegar, stir again and serve.