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E Dolce Far Niente, & Cooking Broccoli Rabe for La Befana

Posted in Abruzzo, Caro Diario.(dear diary..), Christmas, cucina, cucina povere, entertaining, Holidays, and special occasions

broccoli rabela befana-piazza navona

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 There is this  saying in Italy “E Dolce Far Niente”, in English it means ‘How sweet it is to do nothing’. It is a difficult phrase  for a ‘hyperactive’ person like me to understand unless I am  in Italy…

 Yesterday was the last day of the Christmas Holiday season here known as La Befana or the Epiphany.  It was a day to appreciate that aforementioned saying..filled with going out for a stroll for a morning cappuccino..then coming home and spending time preparing the 2 pounds of  fresh broccoli rabe   I bought from  an outdoor farm market  yesterday. My intention was to add it to  a Holiday  lunch of polenta with broccoli rabe and fontina cheese melted on top. But broccoli rabe takes some time to clean and cook…. and in between the waiting there is a lot of relaxing and sitting and drinking another espresso and watching  and relaxing and chatting and a lot of ‘doing nothing’ but waiting for the broccoli rabe to hurry up and cook and be tender. Anyway, here is the recipe we had for lunch and the rest of the day was spent relaxing in front of the fireplace..and yes it is so sweet to just ‘do nothing..You must try it sometime..

Polenta with Broccoli Rabe and Fontina Cheese polenta with broccoli rabe

2 pounds of fresh Broccoli Rabe-cleaned

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic

2 small dried red hot peppers

pinch of salt

1 cup of cornmeal

8 ounces of fontina cheese

Wash and clean broccoli rabe, cutting off the bottom, hard part. Place in boiling water and cook till tender- about 30-40 minutes. Drain well. Place olive oil in saute pan with garlic cloves and dried red hot peppers (pepperoncini). Saute for about 30 seconds. Chop cooked broccoli rabe  and place in saute pan with olive oil. Place in approx 1/2 cup water. Saute for approximately 15 minutes.

Cook polenta as directed on package. Place polenta in oven proof dishes. Place broccoli rabe in center of polenta, place grated fontina cheese on top of broccoli rabe, place a drizzle of olive oil on top and place under broiler till fontina cheese is bubbly..

You may want to have a  simple dessert like a piece of handmade chocolates  after this dish..

Mangia Bene, Vivi Bene,


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