Rapini, also known as broccoli raab, is popular in Chinese and Italian cuisines. A member of the cabbage family, it shares characteristics of broccoli as well as turnip and mustard greens. Its bright, assertive flavor is similar to broccoli, although rapini is more pungent and bitter. Its thin, leafy stalks have small florets that resemble broccoli buds. Rapini’s stalks, leaves and florets are all edible but they’re typically cooked because it’s too bitter to serve raw.
- To prepare rapini, you can leave the stalks and leaves whole or coarsely chopped them.
- To tame some of its bitterness, you can blanch rapini 2 to 3 minutes in a generous amount of salted water, cool in ice water, drain and wrap in kitchen toweling to dry. You can then sauté, braise or stir-fry it. Italians cooks often sauté it 3 to 5 minutes in olive oil with minced garlic, dried red pepper flakes and salt and serve it as a side dish. It can also be added to stir-fries, risottos or pasta sauce or sprinkled on pizza. We recommend you cook it no more than 10 minutes, to help preserve its color and keep its flavor fresh.