Tag Archives: Broccoli rabe

CIME DI RAPE (or Rapa) with pasta, anchovies and lemon peel

It is the season to demonstrate again my recognition and enjoyment  for  Cime di rape (Cime di rapa is the singular). Also known as Rapini or Broccoli Rabe in some other parts of Italy and of the world. This exceptional, slightly bitter, mustard tasting, green vegetable is a brassica and a winter green and I make the most of it while it is in season.

I cooked a bunch last night of “Cime ” as they are generally called, with anchovies for a pasta dish.

Cime di rape are not easy to buy, for example there are only three stalls that sell it at the Queen Victoria Market and you cannot rely on all three having it,  but if it is available, it comes home. Some good green grocers also sell Cime di rape, especially those businesses with Italian heritage or that are in locations where Italians shop.

The flower heads are green at the moment, but they will have yellow petals later in the season as demonstrated in the photo below.

Cime di rape, are traditionally cooked with orecchiette (little ears shaped pasta) originating in Puglia, but these  green leafy greens are also grown extensively in the Italian regions of Lazio and Campania and further south; they are not as traditionally popular in northern Italy.

I cook the greens as a  pasta dressing or as a side dish to gutsy dishes of meat or fish or pulses. They are not a delicate tasting green and therefore need  strong flavours – garlic, chillies, strong tasting cheese.

As a pasta sauce they can include the flavours already mentioned and / or be enriched by the addition of pork sausages,  a few slices of a strong tasing salame or ‘Nduja (a soft, spreadable, pork salame originating from  Calabria and with a high content of  chilies.)

Another strong taste  to add are anchovies. I like to add a substantial amount, but I am careful about adding salt to the greens when I sauté them in strong tasting extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and chilli.

The whole bunch can be used and not just the leaves and flowers. Like when cleaning broccoli, the tougher stems/stalks can be stripped of their tough, green layer. There is little wastage.

When I made the orecchiette with Cime di Rape last night I also added grated lemon peel. A friend had  just picked some very fresh lemons from her friend’s property. They were so fragrant, I could not resist them.

The anchovies have to be cut finely and tossed about in some extra virgin olive oil to dissolve/ melt. This happens quickly.

The melted anchovies can either be added to the sautéed  greens  after the pasta and greens have been tossed together and are ready to serve, or at the beginning i. e. sauté the anchovies, add the garlic and chillies in the oil for a couple of minutes before adding the greens and cook.

use strong tasting grating cheese like pecorino. Last night I used some Aged Goat Gouda cheese instead. Sometimes I top the pasta with feta, this is not traditional, but it is good to experiment.

The lemon peel can be added either during cooking or at the end.

There are other posts with information and recipes on my blog about Cime di rape. I hope that you too will enjoy them :

EDIBLE WEEDS: Orecchiette e Broccoletti Selvatici (and cime di rape)

ONE OF MY FAVOURITE VEGETABLES Cime di Rape

PASTA with ‘NDUJA, CIME DI RAPA and PORK SAUSAGES

CIME DI RAPE (A winter green)

Sicilian method of cooking pasta in the same water that the vegetables are cooked in

Food and recipes bring people together.

I have relatives who live in Sicily.  My cousins who are still living have sons and daughters who are in their 40’s and 60’s. These younger cousins (even if they are in their 40’s and 60’s)  use the internet and read the recipes that I publish on my blog. Some of them sometimes contact me through Facebook and  sometimes they suggest variations to particular recipes. I very much appreciate this.

Below are two comments made recently about cooking pasta in the same water that the leafy, winter, green vegetable (called Cime di Rape or Broccoli Rape) have been cooked in. on this occasion Valentina and Stefania contacted me.

Valentina lives in Augusta and is from my mother’s side of the family. Stefania, from my father’s side of the family lives in Ragusa. These young women have never met, but they now know each other through the recipes on my blog.

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Here are the variations they have suggested:

Valentina

Marisa ti do la mia ricetta. Si fanno bollire le cimette ben pulite e si scolano, nell’acqua di cottura si fa cuocere la pasta (di solito orecchiette), nel frattempo si fa rosolare in olio extra vergine d’oliva un paio d ‘acciughe dissalate e le cimette e si fanno saltare in padella x qualche minuto …poi si unisce la pasta et voile’ la pasta è fatta!

Boil the Cime di Rape in the same water that you will cook the pasta (usually orecchiette).

Add the cleaned vegetables to salted boiling water, cook and drain them. Return the vegetable water to the saucepan and use it to cook the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking and the vegetables are draining, heat some extra virgin olive oil in a frypan (large enough to hold the vegetables and the pasta).

Add a couple of finely chopped anchovies, then the green vegetables and sauté them for a few minutes. Add the drained pasta and the pasta is ready.

 

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Stefania

Oltre alle acciughe (una ogni due persone, se sono grandi) aggiungi spicchi di aglio , peperoncino rosso. Salta la pasta e se vuoi aggiungi pan grattato.

As well as the anchovies (one between two people if they are big ones), add cloves of garlic and red chillies to the hot oil. Add the green vegetables and the cooked pasta (and sauté them for a few minutes to mix the flavours).

Serve the pasta with fried breadcrumbs (that have been toasted in a frypan in a little extra virgin olive oil).

Both Valentina and Stefania cook the pasta in the same water that the vegetables have been cooked in. The same is done when cooking pasta with kohlrabi or cauliflower or broccoli and although I am familiar with this traditional Sicilian method, I prefer to sauté my vegetables raw rather than boiling them (to preserve vitamins and crunch).

Pasta con the sarde or Pasta con la mollica are the only two recipes where I always cook the wild fennel in the water that will be re-used to cook the pasta. It flavours the pasta and also tints it a shade of green.

Both of these pasta dishes are also presented with fried breadcrumbs.

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For recipes see:

Pasta con Le Sarde (Pasta with Sardines, From Palermo, Made with Fennel, Pine Nuts and Currants)

Pasta with Breadcrumbs, Anchovies and Fennel (Pasta Cca Muddica)

Kohlrabi with Pasta – A Wet Dish (Causunnedda Che Cavuli )

Edible Weeds: Orecchiette e Broccoletti Selvatici (and Cime di Rape)

Cime di Rape (a Winter Green)

One of My Favourite Vegetables – Cime di Rape

The bunch of green vegetables in the front are Cime di Rape.

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ONE OF MY FAVOURITE VEGETABLES – Cime di Rape

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.

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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.

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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.

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See:

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.