Italian Flavour Bomb

Italian food is love in every bite, comprised of fresh ingredients created into simplistic delicious dishes.


The tastiest Italian meals are not fussy or fancy. They are created with passion while sipping a glass of wine in a kitchen filled with the acoustics of Nona’s wooden spoon, pot-stirring, and music.

As with most of the Italian recipes I post, the following recipe (Rappini con Pasta) is another forgiving one where you can either follow the recipe exactly or feel free to adjust it to suit your taste buds.

This year I added a new vegetable to grow in my garden–Rapini (also known as Broccoli Rabe), and grow it did. I was excited to pick the first harvest and treated myself to one of my childhood comfort dishes: RAPINI CON PASTA.

Rapini from my garden

Rapini is a versatile green and can be sautéed, steamed, or baked and it will take whatever you throw at it, and shine every time.

It has a mild and distinctive bitterness which pairs well with mild or hot spices. If the bitterness (which I happen to love) is not in your taste bud wheelhouse you can tone it down by simply drizzling the green with freshly squeezed lemon juice. This eliminates all bitterness and makes the rapini sweeter.

The whole plant can be eaten; the leaves, stocks, and flowers.

Rapini con Pasta

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (more as needed)
1/2 TBSP unsalted butter
6 cloves roasted garlic (if using raw garlic, slice them and use 4 cloves)
1.5 to 2 lbs. Rapini, trimmed and washed
1 lb. Linguini or Spaghetti (fresh or dry, your choice)
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
Freshly grated Romano cheese (you can also use Parmesan)
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes, or to taste


Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add salt.

Heat up a large skillet over medium-low heat, and add olive oil, then add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from heat and set skillet aside.

Add rapini to boiling water and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, using a slotted spoon, remove the rapini and put it in a colander and rinse with cold water right away, drain well and chop into bite size pieces.

Return pot of water (that the rapini was cooked in) back to the stove on high heat and bring to a boil, and add the pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions, less 2 minutes.

While pasta is cooking, add a bit more oil to the skillet and turn heat on medium-low.

Add rapini and toss well to coat it with garlic and oil, add the lemon rinds, and add salt a little at time, and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, tasting to adjust the seasoning, keep the skillet on low heat,

Once pasta is cooked, drain it then toss into the skillet.

Add butter to the hot pasta, and toss pasta and rapini together, letting it all cook for about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve with freshly grated Romano (or Parmesan or both if you’d like).

This dish also pairs extremely well with Italian sausage.

Buon Appetito


Another flavour bomb thriving in my garden–Basil.

For my quick and easy basil recipe, please click here.

Basil



My Favorite Vegetable

Welcome to another addition of Tasty Tuesday.

For this week’s contribution, I am sharing a recipe for one of my favorite vegetables; Broccoli Rabe (it’s also called Rapini).

Broccoli Rabe is an acquired taste as it has a slightly bitter flavor, but the way I make it, even people who shy away from this nutritionally packed vegetable will learn to love it.

It can be served as a side dish or tossed in with sausage and pasta as an entrée.

Any time I make Broccoli Rabe I think of my good friend, Michelina Paganoas we both share our love for this vegetable and when I visited her in New York City, we were so excited to see it on a menu when we had dinner at a restaurant in Manhattan.

I hope you give this recipe a try, trust me, you’ll get to love it as much as I do.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds broccoli rabe, stem ends trimmed, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, (roasted garlic or raw garlic chopped, your choice)
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper, (optional and more if you like spicy food)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
  2. Add broccoli rabe and cook for about 3 to 6 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. Drain well.
  4. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  5. Add garlic, and (if you are using crushed red pepper then add this as well)
  6. Stir for about 2 minutes or until the garlic is a light brown.
  7. Add the broccoli rabe, toss to coat,
  8. Cook and keep stirring for 3 – 4 minutes.
  9. Toss in the pine nuts and stir everything together
  10. Cook for another 2 minutes, tossing.
  11. Season with salt and pepper to taste.