Rapini, commonly marketed in the United States as broccoli raab or broccoli rabe //, is a green cruciferous vegetable. The edible parts are the leaves, buds, and stems. The buds somewhat resemble broccoli, but do not form a large head. Rapini is known for its slightly bitter taste, and is particularly associated with Italian (as 'cime di rapa' or 'friarielli'), Galician, and Portuguese (as 'grelos') cuisines. Within the Italian tradition, the plant is associated especially with southern Italian cuisines such as those of Naples, Calabria, and Apulia.
|Cultivar group||Ruvo group|
The plant is a member of the tribe Brassiceae of the Brassicaceae (mustard family). Rapini is classified scientifically as Brassica rapa subspecies rapa, in the same subspecies as the turnip, but has also been treated as Brassica rapa ruvo, Brassica rapa rapifera, Brassica ruvo, and Brassica campestris ruvo.
Rapini has many spiked leaves that surround clusters of green buds that resemble small heads of broccoli. Small, edible yellow flowers may be blooming among the buds. The flavor of rapini has been described as nutty, bitter, and pungent. The flavour is also reminiscent of mustard greens. Rapini is a source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium, calcium, and iron.
The cultivated vegetable probably descends from a wild herb related to the turnip that grew either in China or the Mediterranean region. Rapini is now grown throughout the world, and is available all year long with a peak season of fall to spring.
Rapini needs little more than a trim at the base. The entire stalk is edible, although it may become more fibrous depending on the season.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||92 kJ (22 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||2.7 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
In Europe, rapini is widely used in southern Italian cuisine (in particular Calabria, Basilicata, Apulia, Campania, and Sicily), in Roman cuisine, in northern Portuguese cuisine and in that of Galicia.
In southern Lazio, Frosinone, Ciociaria, it is usually sauteed with garlic and chili pepper, and served with sausages and fresh baked bread so as to make a sandwich. In the Central Italy regions, rapini sautéed with garlic, chili pepper and guanciale can be a side dish for porchetta, grilled pork ribs, sausages and other pork dishes. In Apulia, its most famous use is in "orecchiette".
Blanching is a common first step for preparation, after which rapini may be cooked in various ways, including sautéing, grilling, or roasting.
In the United States, rapini is popular in Italian-American kitchens, particularly in southern New England, where it is a common filling for submarine sandwiches and a component of pasta dishes, especially when accompanied by Italian sausage.
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- Media related to Brassica rapa at Wikimedia Commons