Rapini or broccoli raab is a versatile if little known leafy vegetable with delicious, delicate flowerets that look like small broccoli flowers. Despite its name, it’s related more closely to a turnip than broccoli. Its flavor is clean and sharp. Alice Waters describes raab as one of her favorite greens with “an assertive flavor that is bitter, nutty, sweet and green” (The Art of Simple Food. pg. 311). And it’s easy to prepare. This is the first year I’ve grown it in my kitchen garden and it’s definitely a keeper.
I used the small, baby leaves for salad greens. Once the florets appear, I steamed them with the chopped, tender stems and small leaves, and added to pasta. Seeds from Italy offers a traditional, classic recipe from Southern Italy called Orecchiette e Cima de Rapa.