When most people think of Calabrian food, they think of fresh, homemade pasta and super-spicy peppers, however, Calabrian foodies know there is more to love than initially meets the fork. Some of my favorite dishes in Calabria are created with hearty meat, rich cheese, freshly-grown vegetables and legumes and its the marriage of those last two that creates today’s recipe.
I can’t remember the first time I had fagioli e rape, or beans and garden greens, but I was apparently underwhelmed. Maybe it was in a restaurant that offered it as part of an already overflowing antipasto or maybe the rape, (pronounced raa-Pay in Italian) wasn’t in season, but it just didn’t do it for me.
A year or so later, I tried it again. This time in a local trattoria when my husband spotted it on the menu and gobbled it as a side dish with his secondo. A couple of months ago, I spotted these bitter greens in the market and ever-so-kindly asked my father-in-law if he had a recipe.
He made them the next day.
And again the next week.
And no … I’m not spoiled.
If you want to take the easy way out you could technically use frozen greens and canned beans. We only half-cheat, using canned beans and fresh greens.
Here’s our recipe.
Rape e Fagioli
>> 10.5 ounces borlotti beans (Gourmet Sleuth says you can substitute kidney or pinto beans)
>> 2 pounds greens
>> 1/2 onion, finely chopped
>> Olive oil
>> Crushed red pepper
1. Wash the greens and cook in salted, boiling water for a few minutes (until soft.)
2. In a separate pan, sauté onion using good olive oil and add the beans.
3. Heat thoroughly.
4. Combine the greens and beans and top with crushed red pepper.
This dish is great alone or as a side item and goes well with homemade Italian bread.
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