Here certainly is Nouvelle Cuisine as I blend elements of my family’s cuisine with other European flavours and ingredients. Rapini, or Broccoli Rabe Is a cruciferous vegetable that has fallen in favour to many chefs around the world for it’s nutty, bitter and somewhat pungent taste. It makes a great canvas for the savory tomato based ground chuck sauce. They work very nicely together with different elements and textures – all to compliment each other. Only foodies need apply here. These flavours don’t come with training wheels….
1 1/4 lb of ground chuck
1/3 cup of dried onion (works better than fresh onion as it absorbs tomato juice)
1 tablespoon of fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon of fresh cracked coriander (I have a separate pepper mill for coriander!)
1 teaspoon of smoked chipotle pepper flake ( you can use 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes instead, or omit)
1 tablespoon of dried basil
28 oz can of crushed (organic please) tomatoes
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
Ground Chuck Tomato Sauce
1 bunch of rapine (appx. 1 lb.)
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter
Herbs De Province
2 tablespoons of malt or rice vinegar
1 slightly heaping tablespoon of dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper
Brown the beef in a large sauté pan.
Add the remainder of the ingredients and let simmer for 25 minutes on a low to medium flame, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, place the oil and butter in the bottom of another large (6 quart or so) sauté pan on allow to medium flame. When butter melts, add rapini and let wilt for a minute. Add the remainder of the ingredients and TOSS WELL. Cook for another 5 minutes and shut off the heat. The leaves will be very tender and the stems very crisp.
Place the Rapini on a nice serving platter and top with the sauce. Garnish on top with slices of fresh tomato (and freshly shaved Parmesan if desired)