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Rapini aka Broccoli Rabe with Chilies and Garlic

While I have chosen to use the cooked rapini aka Broccoli Rabe as an element in a Buddha bowl which includes the grain quinoa, and some roasted winter squash, Feinberg presents his version as a crostini. He states: "In Italy, you'll see rapini, aka broccoli rabe in pasta or on pizza, or as a side dish-it's a classic contorno. Here we put our own spin on the vegetable by using it for crostini. The rapini, with a little bit of garlic, chili, and ricotta salt, is just terrific on a piece of toasted bread, which soaks up all of the pungent juices." In my opinion at Cooking the Kitchen, the grain of the Buddha bowl serves a similar purpose, soaking up all the goodness of the juices from the rapini.
Course Appetizer or Main
Cuisine Italian
Author Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, Melissa Clark from the Franny's Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 1-½ tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 2 large garlic cloves smashed and peeled, plus 1 clove peeled
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 8 ounces 1 small bunch broccoli rabe, tough ends trimmed
  • teaspoon kosher salt plus a pinch
  • Juice of ¼ lemon
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Four ¾ inch-thick slices country-style bread
  • ½ cup grated ricotta salata

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, warm 1-½ tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the smashed garlic and cook for 30 to 40 seconds, until fragrant but not browned. Add the chili flakes and cook for 10 seconds. Add a handful of the broccoli rabe and cook until wilted. Move the wilted rabe to one side, add the next batch, and cook until wilted; continue until all the rabe is wilted. Add the ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅓ cup water to the skillet. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the rabe is tender and most of the liquid is gone but some moisture remains. If the pan looks dry before the rabe is tender, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed. Transfer the greens to a plate to let cool.
  2. Chop the rabe, especially the large stems, into small pieces. Toss with the lemon juice, the 2 teaspoons olive oil, the pinch of salt, and a few turns of black pepper.
  3. Preheat the broiler. Drizzle one side of the bread slices with olive oil. Toast, oiled side up until golden and crisp. 1 to 2 minutes. Rub the oiled side of the toasts with the remaining garlic clove. Drizzle the toasts with a few drops of olive oil, top with the greens, sprinkle with the cheese, and grind on additional black pepper. Serve immediately.
  4. Andrews Note: Because these crostini are so simple, with only two basic elements, rapini and cheese, you want aggressive olive oil to bring out all the flavors. Use the spiciest, grassiest oil you can get; just a drizzle will make a huge difference in the taste. Also, while you can make this with supermarket broccoli rabe and it will be good, it becomes really special when you use a bunch from the farmers' market. It's both sweeter and more pungent, and sometimes there are yellow flowers still attached, which makes for an attractive presentation.