Rapini’s bold, no-snooze flavor profile boasts a pleasing bitterness that can be tamed with creamy pasta, or grains augmented with caramelized onions and garlic. With stalks more slender than found on broccoli, rapini is topped with spiky, jagged-edged leaves and bundles of compact buds.
This recipe uses a tasty brown rice blend. There are several brands in the marketplace, such as Lundberg’s blend of long grain brown rice, Wehani rice and Black Japonica rice. When cooked, the blend mixes have a lovely earthiness that teams well with rapini.
If you like, substitute plain long-grain brown rice. Brown rice generally triples in volume when cooked, but a brown rice blend yields a little less. Figure that 1 1/2 cups of raw brown rice blend will make about 4 cups when cooked, the amount needed in this recipe.
Rapini with Caramelized Onions and Brown Rice Blend
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 chili flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups cooked brown rice blend
Garnish: 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
1. Heat oil in large deep skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions and toss to coat with oil. Cook until starting to soften and turn brown. Reduce heat to medium-low. If desired, add sugar; sugar helps onions to caramelize, but they will brown without it, it will just take a little longer. So leave out the sugar if you prefer. Cook until nicely browned, stirring occasionally, about 12 to 15 minutes, adding garlic 3 to 4 minutes before the completion of cooking.
2. Meanwhile, put a large pot of salted water on high heat. When boiling, add rapini. Cook until tender-crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well, shaking the colander. Add to onions and toss. Add dried red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Divide rice between 6 bowls. Spoon mixture over rice, sprinkle parsley on top and serve.
Source: “50 Best Plants on the Planet” by Cathy Thomas (Chronicle, $29.95)
Cooking question? Contact Cathy Thomas at [email protected] com