Rapini - la mia verdura preferita!

rapini with garlic & olives

My body just CRAVES this vegetable, and when it's in season it is at it's very best. Slightly smoky and just a little bitter, it is an excellent food for the digestive system. My body pulses with happiness when I eat it.

I learned how to prepare this Italian staple Roman-style. Excellent as a dish on its own, or mixed with gluten-free rotini shaped pasta & sprinkled with fresh grated parmigiano. 

It also makes an excellent accompaniment to sausages, fish or chicken. When served as a side, I'll skip the cheese and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice instead.

The method below is called "ripassata in padella" (loosely translates to passed from the pot into the pan) - and can be used to prepare any number of greens like chard, kale, spinach etc. Typically with leafy greens I skip the steaming part and go straight to the pan. 

This is super easy. 

Wash one bunch of rapini, remove tough ends & chop into 2" pieces. Toss into pot with water and steam. 

Peel and split one clove of garlic in two. Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a non-stick frying pan and put garlic open side down with a sprinkle of chili flakes.

When rapini is limp remove from water and toss into pan. Add
6-8 salt cured black olives. Stir to coat with oil and cook until any water evaporates. 

I use the water that I steamed the rapini in to cook the pasta (great flavour and use of lost nutrients!). Also saves time and energy washing up :) 

In winter when rapini goes on sale I will steam a number of bunches at once and freeze it. I store it in baggies and then thaw and finish it off in the pan when I want it (thanks for teaching me this trick Rosa!). 

I seriously never tire of this dish - but would be thrilled to learn of new ways to prepare rapini and other seasonal winter greens.


  1. I think this is what we call Broccolini over here. It's one of my favourites too, but normally I just steam it until bright green and still crunchy. It goes with everything so well, yumm. I'll try your style next!

  2. Yes - rapini is also known as "broccoli rabe" or "broccolini" which literally translates to "little broccoli". The heads of rapini are like broccoli, however it has thinner stalks and is very leafy with much stronger flavour that it's big brother the broccoli.