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This dish for sautéed rapini with garlic and red pepper flakes is a great side for a rich stew, pasta with sauce, veal Parmesan or a slow-cooked pork roast. It can even be perfect between two slices of bread topped with provolone cheese.

While you may find this veggie to be a little bitter, it is a great palate cleanser when paired with a rich tasting main.   Blanching rapini will tame some of the bitterness.  This dish is not only easy to make but can be made ahead of time and eaten hot or at room temperature.

Here’s a tip! Most sautéed rapini recipes ask you to slice a clove of garlic very thin. Instead, use a large-hole box grater and grate the garlic into thin pieces – it’s much easier.

Sauteed Rapini with garlic and red pepper flakes

 Photo of Sautéed Rapini with Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes by David Bagosy

Sautéed Rapini with Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes
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  • 1 large bunch rapini (about 1 pound)
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated on a large-hole box grater
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. Trim 1-inch off the base of the rapini stems and peel any thick stems with a pairing knife (this will help to make them more tender).
  2. Over high heat, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt well and add rapini. Cook until rapini is bright green and slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain rapini and run under cold water. Squeeze dry and set aside.
  3. Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir until garlic is just starting to brown, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add rapini and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and serve.

Helpful Hints:

  • Rapini in this recipe can be left whole, or chopped into 2-inch pieces.
  • Additions that would taste great include anchovies, lemon juice and zest, Parmesan cheese, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts and bacon.



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