May 192011
 
On Broccoli Rapini: When Bitter is Sweet

Cime di rapa (“turnip tops”), broccoli di rapa, broccoletti di rapa, and colloquially, rape or rapini are the Italian terms for what the Americans call “broccoli raab.”  The vegetable was virtually unknown when I was growing up in the States. Today, the pleasingly bitter greens the southern Italians love have become mainstream but they are rarely cooked correctly. Whether prepared in restaurants or carry-out shops, I find they are often too bitter–the result of not  par-boiling first, or undercooking.  This is not a vegetable to cook al dente! This is the Italian way to prepare rapini: Using a sharp paring [...more...]

May 102011
 
At Eataly with Julia: Stalking Italy's Winter Flower

Eataly has a gem of a little cooking school. I taught there  in April, timed for the season’s first crop of the precious winter flower of Treviso. Because Eataly carries the uncommon long-ribbed “tardivo” variety of radicchio, I showed my class how to make a stupendous and simple dish with it: Sauteed Spaghetti with Radicchio. The recipe appears in my most recent cookbook, Italian Home Cooking: 125 Recipes to Comfort the Soul (Kyle Books, NY and London, 2010) To buy this book click here Radicchio belongs to the chicory family (cichorium intybus) and there are four different types: – elongated red Verona [...more...]