Spicy Broccolini with Red Pepper

Recipe courtesy of Nina Simonds

Serves 6

Most supermarkets offer broccolini, which looks similar to rapini, but the flavor is less bitter. You can steam, boil, or stir-fry broccoli or rapini. Nina likes to blanch these types of vegetables in advance until near-tender, refresh them, and then stir-fry over very high heat just before serving.

  • 2 pounds broccolini, rapini, Chinese or western broccoli or flowering rape
  • 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried chili flakes
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat edge of a knife, skins removed, and sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Juice of ½ lemon or about 2½ tablespoons

Cut away the tough end of the broccolini or rapini, and peel away the tough outer skin from the stems. Separate the stalks or tougher part of the vegetable from the more tender part (flowerets). Cut the stalks into 1-inch lengths and separate the flowerets. 

Bring 3 quarts water to a boil, add the tougher part (stalks) of the vegetable and cook for about 2 minutes or until almost tender, but al dente. Add the remaining part of the vegetable and cook for another minute, or until the vegetable is tender. Drain and refresh briefly in cold water. Drain again.

Heat a wok or a heavy skillet, add the oil, and heat until hot, about 15 seconds. Add the chili flakes, red pepper, and sliced garlic. Stir-fry over medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until the red pepper is slightly tender.

Add the broccolini and toss lightly over high heat to mix for a minute. Add the lemon juice and salt and toss lightly to mix. Stir together and taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary. Scoop onto a platter or into a bowl and serve. Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories:  100 ⁄ Protein:  5 g ⁄ Carbohydrate: 12 g ⁄ Fiber: 4 g ⁄ Sodium: 240 mg
Saturated fat: 1 g ⁄ Polyunsaturated fat: 1 g ⁄ Monounsaturated fat: 3 g
Trans fat: 0 g ⁄ Cholesterol: 0 mg

Nina Simonds

Nina Simonds is one of the country’s leading authorities on Asian cooking. She is the author of 10 books on Chinese cuisine and culture, including the best-selling Asian Noodles, A Spoonful of Ginger, and  Spices of Life, which won the James Beard Foundation Book Award for health. Her food/health/lifestyle Web site, www.spicesoflife.com, features videos with some of the country’s most prominent experts and chefs in food and health. She is a member of the Nutrition Round Table at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Copyright © 2008, Nina Simonds, www.spicesoflife.com


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