Rapini, also known as broccoli rabe, has some of the bitterness of broccoli (a good thing). The longer stems, smaller florets, and leaves all stand up well to sautéing. Sweet dried tomatoes, buttery pine nuts and creamy goat cheese provide a balance of flavours in this time-honoured side dish.
- 2 bunch rapini (broccoli rabe)
- 4 tbsp (45 ml) pine nuts
- 3 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) red chili flakes
- 8 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, julienned
- 4 tbsp (30 ml) fresh goat cheese
- juice of 1 lemon (optional)
- To toast the pine nuts, place a medium pan over low heat. Add the pine nuts, and shake the pan regularly to avoid burning. Cook until a light golden brown. Watch closely, as pine nuts have a high oil content and can burn quite easily. Remove the pan from the heat. Set aside.
- Have ready a bowl of ice water. Boil a large pot of water over high heat, and add a generous amount of salt. While waiting for the water to boil, cut off the bottoms of the rapini stems, remove any large, bruised leaves, and wash well. Blanch the rapini for 1 minute, until the leaves have softened but the stems are still nice and firm. Remove the rapini using tongs or a spider, and place in the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and help keep its vibrant green colour.
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chili flakes. Add the whole pieces of rapini and the sun-dried tomatoes, and generous pinches of salt and freshly ground pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high heat and cook about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a large serving platter. Right before serving, crumble the goat cheese over the top. (You don’t want it to let it stand too long, or the cheese will get runny or melt completely.) Add the lemon juice, if using.
- Sprinkle the pine nuts over the rapini and serve immediately.