Also known as Italian broccoli, I grew up calling this veggie rapini. It has a pungent and bitter flavor similar to turnips and cabbage that gets mellowed out by cooking. It’s also a nutrient powerhouse, packed with calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamins A, C and K.
When at the market, look for a nestled bunch of bright leafy greens, with tiny broccoli-like buds peaking out. To prepare, steam or blanche in boiling water, then sauté in olive oil and garlic. Finish with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve as a side dish or incorporate into soup, quiche or pasta.
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- 6-minute side dish.
I see a lot of cookbooks — that’ll happen when you work for Food Network — and even though there’s a stack of new books on my desk threatening to topple over, I still get excited when I get a really good, new cookbook. The cookbooks that excite me are the ones filled with healthy, seasonal recipes, especially those with a lot of vegetable dishes because I don’t eat meat. Food writer, NY Times columnist and cookbook author Melissa Clark‘s book, Cook This Now was one that excited me. So much so that it made it home to my kitchen, and not the teetering, 4-foot cookbook pile on my desk.
The book is organized by month, and each month has 10 recipes using ingredients that are at their peak that month. The setup is helpful for obvious reason: it’s easy to figure out what’s freshest and what to shop for at farmers’ markets, but there was an unexpected bonus to the month-by-month organization. Usually when I get a great cookbook, I leaf through the whole thing, flagging dozens of recipes I must make, then can’t decide what to make first. When I cracked open Cook This Now, I jumped right to November. I was tempted by the Butternut Squash Risotto With Pistachios and Lemon, the Honey Whole Wheat Corn Bread and the Roasted Acorn Squash, Honey, Smoked Paprika, and Sage Salt, but last night just happened to get a big bunch of broccoli rabe in my CSA, so was eager to turn that into dinner.
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