Cime di Rapa
Rapini or broccoli rabe: bright green, decisive in flavour and intensely good for you. Fresh from the orto as we head towards winter and favoured in the kitchens of southern Italy in particular, it’s an ingredient we always looked for when we were in London but that we only really started to use regularly when we moved to Italy.
Intensely detoxifying and mineral rich (calcium, phosphorous, iron, vitamins A, B2 & C) you buy it by the arm-full, which means it never fits in the fridge properly, so you’re forced to cook with it immediately – and of course this makes it even more delicious.
As a member of the mustard family, the inimitable flavour of cime di rapa with its bitterness and piquancy makes it an incredible partner for a relatively neutral base note such as pasta or pastry, bread, or even eggs.
Perhaps best known as an accompaniment to orecchiette, the small ear-shaped pasta that comes from Puglia, we have been getting our fill this week and it is a true delight. Please see our recipe for Orecchiette (or their cousins Strascinati) with Cime di Rapa and Vongole.
Cima di Rapa is particularly good with monocultivar coratina olive oil. We have a choice of two: the more decisive Tenuta Torre di Mossa, which always has one of the highest polyphenol counts each season or Tenuta Arcamone, certified organic and without question, one of our desert island olive oils. Both are sensational oils.