Rapini’s bold, repeat-free flavor profile features a pleasant bitterness that can be tamed with creamy pasta or cereal augmented with caramelized onions and garlic. With thinner stems than those found on broccoli, rapini is topped with spiky leaves with jagged edges and clusters of compact buds.
This recipe uses a tasty mix of brown rice. There are several brands on the market, such as Lundberg’s Long Grain Brown Rice Blend, Wehani Rice, and Black Japonica Rice. When cooked, the mixes have a lovely earthy flavor that pairs well with rapini.
If desired, substitute plain long-grain brown rice. Brown rice usually triples in volume when cooked, but a brown rice blend yields slightly less. Figure that 1 1/2 cups of raw brown rice mixture will yield about 4 cups when cooked, the amount needed in this recipe.
Rapini with caramelized onions and mixed brown rice
Yield: 6 servings
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, cut into 3/8-inch-thick slices
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 pounds rapini, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups cooked brown rice mix
Garnish: 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1. Heat oil in large deep skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onions and toss to coat with the oil. Cook until it begins to soften and brown. Reduce heat to medium-low. If desired, add sugar; sugar helps the onions caramelize, but without it they will brown, it will just take a little longer. So omit the sugar if you prefer. Cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 12 to 15 minutes, adding the garlic 3 to 4 minutes before the end of cooking.
2. Meanwhile, put a large pot of salted water over high heat. When boiling, add the rapini. Cook until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well by shaking the colander. Add to the onions and mix. Add dried red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Divide the rice among 6 bowls. Pour the mixture over the rice, sprinkle with parsley on top and serve.
Source: “50 Best Plants on the Planet” by Cathy Thomas (Chronicle, $29.95)
Kitchen issue? Contact Cathy Thomas at [email protected] com