Rapini is a great spring crop, and is much like Asparagus!
Rapini is also known as raab, broccoli rabe, cime de rape, rape and brocoletti. It is the spring growth of any Brassica crop, both Oriental (Pak Choy or Chines cabbage) or Continental (Cauliflower, Broccoli) that has decided to jump and go to flower, instead of staying short and transforming into a compact head that we usualy know from the shops.
Rapini is therefor a leafy mustardy green. Its leaves and buds have a mustardy bite much like turnip greens. You can eat the whole plant, including the flowers and they are nice raw in salads or cooked.
It is widely grown for this purpose in Italy and a favourite under our Italian friends at the market.
To store Rapini keep it in a plastic bag in the fridge, and use within 3-5 days.
Some recipes I found:
Rapini with garlic and red pepper flakes
2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 medium garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 recipe blanched * rapini greens (* cooked until wilted and tender for 2 minutes in boiling water, then drained. Put into cold water to stop boiling process and drain again. Set aside until required).
Heat oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in medium skillet over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle, about 3 to 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium high, add blanched rapini greens, and cook, stirring to coat with oil, until heated through, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt, serve immediately.
Rapini with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts Follow recipe for Rapini with Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes, adding 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips, along with garlic and red pepper flakes. Add 3 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts to skillet along with rapini greens.
Rapini with Asian Flavours Mix 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon sugar in small bowl; set aside. Follow recipe for Rapini with Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes, substituting vegetable oil for the olive oil and adding 1/2 teaspoon finely grated ginger along with garlic and red pepper flakes. Add reserved soy sauce mixture to skillet along with rapini.
Broccoli Raab Pasta Put on a pot of water to boil. In a skillet, coated with olive oil, heat a large red onion over high heat. When onion is browning in spots, add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic, some red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Toss briefly, then add the raab and a splash of water. Lower the heat and cook until tender, stirring frequently. Meanwhile cook pasta. Taste the raab and adjust the seasonings. Add a generous amount of olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. Toss with the drained pasta and top with romano cheese.