I call these greens (as my parents did) Cime di rape – literally translated as turnip tops. You may also see them named as Cime di rapa. This is not a mispelling: rapa is the singular and rape is the plural and I guess in my family we called them rape because we ate the tops from more than one turnip.


You may also see or hear them  referred to as broccoli rabe, or friarielli or broccolleti or rapini – same vegetable, but called by different names in various parts of Italy. These mustard greens are mainly grown and appreciated in southern Italy.


I very much like this bitter green; it is sold in bunches, and is very much in season now (autumn through to winter).

I have written about this mysterious, leafy vegetable before. I eat them often and sauté  them in garlic and chilli either as a pasta sauce or as a contorno – a side vegetable.

Usually I use orecchiette – the ear shaped pasta from the region of Italy known as Puglia. This time, having run out of orecchiette I used penne instead (a brave thing to admit!)

I always present the pasta with pecorino rather than parmesan cheese.the strong taste of the greens requires a strong cheese.

Pasta & cime_0276


Cime di rape

Orecchiette e broccolleti selvatici

Rape (turnips)

Enter cime di rape in the search button on the blog and this vegetable will be mentioned in several other posts.

Substitute the cicoretta (chicory) with cime di rape.



4 thoughts on “ONE OF MY FAVOURITE VEGETABLES – Cime di Rape”

  1. In our family, my daughter and I could eat our weight in broccoli rabe. We enjoy that slight bitter taste as did my Italian parents. The males of our family think “bleh”. So we make it for ourselves when we get together. The males just don’t know what they’re missing!!!!

    1. Yes, many do not like that bitter taste (as you say). It is difficult to describe that bitter taste to those who have not tried ‘cime di rape’. I always say that it is not the same bitterness as chicory, whitlof or radicchio ( chicory = Asteraceae family) but it is a mustrad green taste (= Brassica family). Many do not like the bitter taste of these vegetables but I think that they are tolerated more than cime di rape.

  2. I love the way the “old ” way of eating is coming to the fore again…………………………..I pick puha (like dandilion) to cook in a similar fashion to your cime di rape amongst other veges, we cook meat or meaty bones n drop the greens in and balls of flour something like gnocci , this is a favourite passed down through the generations.

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