One of our current favorite vegetables is the cruciferous gem known as broccolini. You may remember seeing it in my orchechiette pasta dish, accompanied by sweet Italian sausage and nutty parmesan cheese. While its name sort of suggests that it’s “baby broccoli,” it’s actually a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale (gai-lan). The resulting vegetable is characterized by tender stems and tiny, slightly peppery heads. Like regular broccoli, it’s a great source of vitamins A, C, and K.
Broccolini is not immature broccoli, nor is it the same as broccoli rabe. Broccoli rabe is actually not even a member of the broccoli family, but in that of turnip and mustard greens family, making it leafy and much more bitter.
My favorite way to prepare this green vegetable is to saute it in olive oil with garlic and a refreshing splash of lemon juice. It’s a delicious add-in to pasta dishes, too!