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Mediterranean Monday: Pasta con Cime di Rapa

Cime di Rapa, also known as Rapini, Broccoli Rabe (or Raap or Raab), Broccoletti, Broccoli di Rape, Rape, Rappi or Friarielli is a veggie commonly found in many of the dishes of Southern Italy (in particular Basilicata , Puglia and Sicily).

It is delicious with a nutty bitter flavour AND good for you –  a wonderful source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium, calcium, and iron. 

In the south, it is often sautéed in olive oil, garlic and peperoncino for a side dish to serve with meat or fish. After a quick flash in the pan with oil and garlic, my sister uses it to top a store-bought pizza crust for a quick and delightfully different appetizer. But today, we are going to use it in the classic dish from Puglia – Pasta con Cime di Rapa!

Time necessary: from 30 to 40 minutes
Difficulty: easy breezy 

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 800 g of cime di rapa
  • 400 g of dried orecchiette pasta
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 anchovies (can be omitted for a vegetarian dish)
  • 1 small chili pepper chopped or dried peperoncino to taste
  • 250 ml of extra virgin olive oilWash and clean the rapa, removing the harder leaves and stems, keeping only the “cime” or tops. Place a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta following the package instructions for cooking time. When pasta is close to done, add the cime di rapa to the water for the last 4 to 5 minutes.  Meanwhile in a large pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil, garlic, chilie or peperoncino and anchovies on low until the anchovies are completely dissolved into the oil. Drain the pasta and cime di rapa and combine it with the oil mixture in the pan to ensure the flavours are well-distributed. Serve immediately.NOTES:
    • If you are using fresh pasta, which has a shorter cooking time, add the pasta to the boiling salted water first and then when the water returns to boiling, add the cime di rapa.
    • Some people suggest grating pecorino cheese over the pasta. However, for a true Pugliese, that would be considered almost sacrilegious. Go ahead…. I promise I won’t tell!

What oil to use? Considering the intense flavours in the dish as well as the origin… a peppery robust oil from Puglia is in order – I suggest Tenuta Rasciatano made with 100% Coratina olives.


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