A simple Sautéed Rapini Recipe or Broccoli Rabe Recipe made with just a few simple ingredients you are sure to have in your home any day of the week. Olive oil, garlic, Italian Seasoning and some chili peppers if you like things a little spicy. A great side dish that goes perfect with Italian meatballs, pasta, chicken or beef.
Rapini is relatively new to me and not something I ever ate as a kid. I didn’t really hear of it until I met my husband who is Italian. His mom makes rapini often and serves it as a side dish to pasta or roast beef dinner. Or sometimes she even mixes it into fettuccine noodles with a little olive oil and parmesan cheese.
This rapini recipe makes a great side dish to so many dishes that it has easily become the side dish I make most often outside of salads.
What is rapini?
Rapini is also commonly known as Broccoli Rabe. It is a green leafy vegetable with little buds. It is actually part of the Turnip family, not broccoli.
Rapini or Broccoli Rabe can look a lot like broccoli but the stalks don’t form a solid bunch like broccoli coming as a loose bunch instead and they are much longer and skinner.
The stalks can be quite bitter but if cooked right the bitterness mellows nicely. Click Here for more information about rapini from Wikipedia.
How to choose the best bunch of rapini
Look for bunches of rapini that have shorter firm stalks with buds that are still unopened. You want to avoid bunches that look wilted, have yellowing leaves or buds that look like they have opened or flowered.
Ingredients for sautÉed rapini
how to make sautÉed rapini
There was a little Italian bakery I used to go to for lunch when I used to work at the newsipaper. They had a lunch counter and the lady there made the best rapini in the universe. It was so good it sold out every single day so getting there before the lunch rush was a must if you wanted any.
She shared this recipe with me. It is a little spicy but if you don’t like the spice you can always leave out the chili peppers.
What is the trick to cooking rapini so it is not bitter?
The chef at the Italian bakery I used to frequent that had the best ever rapini told me it is cooking it with a little bit of water that helps to flush out the bitterness. This is why I like to add a 1/2 cup of water and let the rapini steam.
You also want to make sure the stems are fork-tender before eating. The stems are very bitter when raw so make sure they are cooked well but not mushy.
According to Cooks Illustrated keeping the entire stalk stem, leaves and bud intact also helps to reduce bitterness. For more information click here.
REcipes that pair well with rapini
Sautéed Rapini Recipe
- Large Sauté pan with lid
- Spoon or Spatula
- 1 bunch fresh rapini washed and stems trimmed
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/8 tsp chili flakes optional
- 1/2 cup water
- Wash and trim the ends off of one bunch of fresh rapini. Heat a large saucepan to medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp olive oil, 1 clove minced garlic, 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning and 1/8 tsp of chili flakes (optional). Sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the washed and trimmed bunch of rapini to the saucepan. Add 1/2 cup of water and cover with a lid to steam for about 5 minutes.
- Remove lid. Rapini should be wilted. Mix rapini with garlic and chili flakes. Let simmer for another 5 minutes with the lid off so the water can evaporate. Remove from heat and serve when stalks of the rapini are softer but not mush. A fork should be able to go through the stalk easily.