Oct 072013
Rapini soaking in a  bowl  Photo: Nathan Hoyt

Rapini soaking in a bowl. Photo: Nathan Hoyt

Some time back, I wrote a post, “When Bitter is Sweet,” about broccoli rapini, the Italian greens that have taken this country by storm since Balducci’s, the legendary Greenwich Village Italian grocery, imported them here in 1973. Because so many readers said they were relieved to finally learn how to cook them properly to soften their bitter edge, I decided to find out how and why the delicious Brassica, about which there is still such a mystique, was transplanted from the heel of the Italian boot to the farmlands of California. Here’s the update, complete with Andy and Nina Balducci’s story, Viola Buitoni’s terrific family recipe, and my updated cooking tips. For the article and recipe, continue reading on Zester Daily  >>ZDlogo2.

Viola Buitoni's Rapi e Patate, Sauteed Garlicky Rapini with Crispy Potatoes Photo: Hirsheimer & Hamilton

Viola Buitoni’s Rapi e Patate, Sauteed Garlicky Rapini with Crispy Potatoes
from Italian Home Cooking: 125 Recipes to Comfort Your Soul
Photo: Hirsheimer & Hamilton

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  3 Responses to “How to Cook Rapini”

  1. Thanks for this Julia…I want to like this veg.

    Ciao, Phyllis

  2. Dear Readers,
    Many of you write to me at my email address. I love to hear from you but hope you’ll leave your questions or comments here for other readers to benefit from. Here is a comment that just came in from New York restaurateur Tony May, redirected from my email.

    Julia, Friarielli are (primizia) early broccoli di rape in the Neapolitan region, otherwise they are simply known as broccoli di rape. There are two ways two cook them. The only way is the the Balducci recipe in the south (from Naples on down south), the boiling first system, is a way to cook the stems and the larger leafs as well. This method takes away a lot of their bitterness that is typical of this vegetable. the reality is that this vegetable was born in the south and other varieties are much tougher and therefore the boiling first makes sense. In Roma Broccoli di rape are boiled first everywhere. My very best always Tony may

    Tony May
    SD26 Restaurant & Wine Bar
    19 East 26th Street
    New York, NY 10010

  3. I usually add tomatoes to temper the bitterness a bit -as well as blanching it.
    But the pic with the potatoes looks fantastic. I’m a sucker for potatoes and greens. When my father was a child after the war, money was tight (or non-existant!) and they ate a lot of things like that and he still made them when I was growing up.

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