Welcome to My Blog...

A warm and simple, welcome.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rapini Roots and a Great Pizza Recipe

My grandmother, Mary Montaruli, was an incredible chef. She and my grandfather, Luigi, owned many restaurants throughout their lives. So, as a young child, while my peers were playing in sandboxes, I was hanging out at Luigi's Restuarant, learning a sense of urgency and at a very young age, learning to cook. We lived on the second floor of the restaurant, which was a Victorian mansion, and today, an historical landmark on Long Island. My older sister, Mary Lou, and I share many fond memories of Luigi's.

Even as a young child, though, rapini (sometimes called broccoli rabe), was my favorite vegetable. I have always loved greens, and now that I am plant strong, I love them even more. I've had to re-adjust how I cook, and the word saute has taken on a new meaning, because if I do saute, it is generally in a liquid; bye bye, olive oil! My grandmother always made linguine with rabe, and loads of garlic. She sauteed hers in olive oil (I never knew, until I was an adult, that olive oil didn't just come in gallon cans). Mine is steamed in very little liquid, and it seems to carmelize well on its own.

I steam my rapini and add about ten cloves of freshly peeled garlic. I save the water for future sauteing, or I just drink it. I love its flavor.

What to do with rapini, you ask? Well, last night I made a delicious, plant strong, rapini pizza, and it was delicious. Here we go...and Grandma, thanks for always letting us tag at your side, you taught all of us to be good chefs, and you were the first person who really showed me "field to fork" with the beautiful gardens you always had, long before it was trendy.

Rapini Pizzzzzzza
One head of Rapini
One whole wheat pizza crust, or Ezekial Wrap
Eight cloves of garlic
A melange of freshly chopped vegetables (onions, mushrooms, peppers, etc)
One Tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast
3 Tablespoons of finely ground raw cashews*
One Roma tomato

Cut the stems of the rapini off (about one inch), and clean them in your lettuce spinner. Throw them in a pot, and add 2 cups of water. Add garlic. Steam for about 7-9 minutes. Turn off flame, keep covered, and let them cool a bit.

Drain them well, and reserve the liquid. Once you think they are drained well, pick them up with your hands, and squeeze out every last drop of water. You'll have a nice ball of greens and garlic. Put this into your food processor and "whir" until you have a green looking paste. Remember, the better drained they are, the less soupy your mixture will be.

Spread the rapini mixture on your dough, or wrap. Add your veggies. Sometimes, I like to also add Roma Tomatoes sliced into thin rounds. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Place in oven, directly on the rack, at 400 degrees.

Just eye the dough for readiness, but generally, the dough will take about 20 minutes, where the wrap will be cooked in about10 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with cashew powder. This will look like parm reggiano.

There you have an oil-free, plant strong delicious pizza. It is SO nutrient dense and so delicious.

*If you wanted, rather than the yeast and cashews, you could use DAIYA MOZZARELLA CHEESE, this is dairy/casein/soy free cheese. It has a high fat content, so use it as a treat. It even melts and stretches!

And don't forget about the KALE. You can also make this with kale, but I would suggest adding some lemon juice to the kale for added flavor.

Long before Lidia Bastianich, my grandmother always said, "Tutti a Tavola A Mangiare."

There you have it, a truly delicious and beautiful pizza.

Thought for the Day

I am not trying to convert the world into being plant strong, but I do want to share that I feel fabulous and fit. Really, the way that plant strong food travels through your body will propel you into feeling great in a way that you have never known before.

Let your journey begin with just 28 days, and after that, you make the choice.


  1. Char--this looks amazing! I am going to make it for dinner tonight. Thanmks!

  2. Just had it at Club Vedge and it was GREAT! I used collards and they did not disaapoint!

  3. Thanks for sharing this recipe it's definitely a really good reward for my brother who got his Alcohol Server Certification last week. But still work on the dough first. I'm not really the cook-type but I'd like to do something special for him.