This week marked the annual migration of the in-laws back to Virginia from Florida, so we celebrated my father-in-law’s recent birthday by taking dinner over. Peggy was convinced I had mixed broccoli and spinach together but it was one of my favorite veggies that has been easier to find lately – rapini, aka broccoli rabe.
Almost anything can benefit from creamy mushrooms, but for whatever reason the combination of them with rapini has particularly addictive quality. And it is uncomplicated to make, and can be done ahead. I set mine up in a French oval.
It’s not necessary, but after I trim the ends off the stems I then cut the slightly thicker stems from the leaves so I can let them cook separately. Blanche the stems in boiling salted water, remove to an ice bath; do the same with the leafy part. Or do all together – won’t hurt my feeling (I believe I have only one feeling left after what I left in a couple of kitchens ; )
While the rapini air dried on the towel I seared the quartered (or more) mushrooms in coconut oil over very high heat to get them to caramelize. Go in batches so the pan is never crowded and there is only one layer of mushrooms, allowing all or most to get a hard, golden sear on the bottom of the pan.
Then I made a garlic cream by sauteeing chopped garlic in olive oil and then adding what I consider to be a modest amount of heavy cream. Allow to reduce a bit…
Add the mushrooms and reduce a bit more. Then arrange the rapini in an oval or other oven-proof dish, top with the mushroom cream and cover with foil. If making ahead, refrigerate and then pop into the oven, covered at 350 for 15 minutes or so while your significant other grills something and you pour a glass of pinot noir rose… optional, but strongly suggested.