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Tuesday
Apr262016

Roasted Broccoli Rabe (aka Rapini) 

ceramic plate from Fifty One and Half

 

This green leafy vegetable is a staple in the Italian kitchen.  It is called Rapini but it is better known in the U.S. as Broccoli Rabe.  Italians love their bitter greens and this vegetable fits right in.  It's in the mustard family and is like a turnip green with little broccoli florets.  It's absolutely delicious.  It goes well with a nice grilled steak. There are a number of ways to cook it, but I'm going to show you how to roast it til it's crispy. 

When you buy broccoli rabe, it will be in a nice sized bunch and it will look like a lot, but it does cook down. I like to roast it on sheet pans but you can't crowd it - one large bunch should be divided up between two sheet pans so it crisps up well and doesn't just steam. 

I like to infuse some oil first with some garlic and spices.  Then I pour this flavorful oil over the broccoli rabe and toss it till all the leaves are coated.  Roasting it for about 15 - 20 minutes or so crisps it up very nicely.  

Roasted Broccoli Rabe

for a printable recipe click here

You need two sheet pans for this recipe to work - you don't want to crowd the broccoli rabe or it will steam instead of crisping. 

1 bunch fresh rapini (broccoli rabe)
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 whole garlic cloves
⅛ teaspoon red hot chili pepper
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400° F.  (If you have a convection oven, use the convection setting - it will crisp the greens up even better). Prepare two rimmed baking sheets by lining them with aluminum foil.  Divide the broccoli rabe bunch up between the two pans.

In a small saucepan, heat the rest of the ingredients up over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Do not let the garlic burn.  Remove the garlic.  

Pour the infused oil over the greens and toss well until they are lightly coated.  Place in the oven and roast for about 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and toss well again.  Return to the oven and roast for about 5 - 10 minutes more, until the leaves are really crisping up.  Keep checking until it's done to your liking. I like a lot of the leaves to be super crisp - almost burnt a little.  It's delicious. 

 

 

Monday
Apr042016

Il Corvo's Ultimate Bolognese Sauce

 

 

It still feels like winter here in Michigan!  I'm doing a lot of sewing and cooking wintry dishes like this one, until some nice weather arrives.  We do get to sneak out to Seattle, where one of our sons lives, where the weather is much nicer than here. And the food is so, so good! 

There is a wildly popular tiny Italian restaurant in Seattle's Pioneer Square area that has a line out the door every day.  It serves lunch only, Monday through Friday. It's Mike Easton's Il Corvo and it serves some of the best pasta in the city.  

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Monday
Feb082016

Meatball and Escarole Soup (a.k.a. Italian Wedding Soup)


ceramic plate from Fifty One and a Half

 

This soup hits the spot at this time of year.  This is such a delicious soup that makes a perfect marriage of meat and greens (hence the name Italian Wedding Soup).  There are so many versions of this soup it makes your head spin.  Some use rice, some add beans, some use pasta, most have beef meatballs, etc. etc.  Here is how I like to make it. 

First, I use pork for the meatballs. You can use whatever you like - turkey (which I've done), beef, a mixture of beef and pork, whatever.   And I grind it myself as some of you know.  It makes a nice fluffy mixture to work with and I know exactly what is in my meat mixture that way. I used pork shoulder for this - in the grocery store often they slice up this cut of pork into large strips and call it "Country Style Ribs".  It's a nice fatty flavorful cut of pork.  If you want something leaner, by all means use ground pork loin.  

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