Ricotta con Crema di Cime di Rapa. In English it is Ricotta with Cream of Rapini, I prefer the Italian name as it is more romantic and sounds so exciting, passionate and sensual. Being able to go to Italy is truly an experience I will never forget. However, the food that you will taste when you go will call you back to Italy time and again.
Song of the day: “All you need is love” by The Beatles.
Ricotta con Crema di Cime di Rapa, features a popular green that has such a distinct flavor it’s hard not to know it. Together with this creamy ricotta and spread on crostini, will definitely rock your taste buds world.
It’s Christmas time!
Party season is upon us and gathering to share great conversation and wonderful hand foods is a must.
Open up that ricotta and grace it with this beautiful creamed Italian vegetable, your guest will be totally enthralled with the texture and flavors of this appetizer. By the way, it looks pretty good too, don’t you think?
This dish was inspired by an amazing Italian restaurant Roscioli, famous for their Cacio e Pepe, but delight you with various dishes including this appetizer we are sharing with you today!
I didn’t get the recipe from them so truly relied on my tastebuds to re-create this Ricotta con Crema di Cime di Rapa.
I have to really thank Nicoletta. If it wasn’t for her I probably would never have experienced Italy or be working on a food blog.
I don’t think I ever shared the story of how I met and came to marry Nicoletta. Well, let’s start at the beginning.
A Story of Destiny and Love:
It was the summer of 2007. My cousin Steph contacted me and asked if I wanted to meet her friend from Italy. Steph and Nicoletta had been pen pals for over twenty years. Finally, after all that time, Nicoletta came to Canada to meet Steph and consequently me.
A Day to Remember:
I remember that sunny summer day. I was to meet Steph, her husband Al, and Nicoletta at a Walmart in the south end of the city. I was a bit nervous. However, I talked myself out of that state and with a smile on my face and heart wide open I embraced the experience.
There she was in a beautiful summer dress. This exotic very pretty woman. My interests were intrigued, but there was something more specific, something that struck me like a ton of bricks, making my knees a little week.
The White Lotus Flower:
Nicoletta was wearing a necklace. It had this amazing White Lotus flower. There was this glow about it sending white rays of light into the clear blue sky.
I was mesmerized and my mind in recall pulled me back into a dream I had a few weeks prior. In my dream, I was on a beach and a woman was coming out of the sea. On her chest, hanging, I could see something bright and it became clearer as she came closer to me.
That light was emanating from a white lotus flower. My flashback was interrupted by my cousin’s voice and when my eyes refocused I saw it: the white lotus flower hanging on Nicoletta’s chest. I knew at that moment I better stay very attentive, this was going to be very important.
Interlude back to the recipe:
This recipe uses an Italian green called rapini. It looks like a leafy green with little broccoli florets. Its flavor profile is somewhat like broccoli with this acidic slightly bitter backdrop. Very interesting and intriguing to the palate.
Doesn’t this vegetable look fantastic? I happen to think so.
How to prep and cook Rapini:
Rapini is quite easy to prepare:
- Firstly, cut the bottom inch or so of the stems.
- Secondly, clean any bruised or spoiled parts.
- Thirdly, wash and place into a pot of boiling water and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until stems and florets become soft.
- Lastly, drain and squeeze the water out of it.
The many ways to eat Rapini:
In Italy, we usually saute it in a pan with olive oil, chili flakes, garlic, salt, and pepper. We have it as a side dish, or with pasta. Another way is to take that sauteed rapini and sandwich it in 2 -kind of- flatbreads with some mozzarella and bake it in the oven. This we call piadina.
You could also simply dress it with olive oil, minced garlic and a squeeze of lemon right after boiling it, for a healthier approach.
However, today, we are pureeing it with garlic, olive oil, kalamata olives, and some lemon and seasonings.
A few pulses away from sheer heaven!
Look at how vibrant the colors are. The aroma is incredible. I absolutely love the earthy pungent smell of the rapini combined with the lemon, olive oil, and garlic. As a result, my mouth is salivating.
Let’s get some ricotta and finish plating this Ricotta con Crema di Cime di Rapa!
We have an amazing recipe for homemade ricotta. Check it out, it is rich, creamy and so velvety. Perfect for the smooth rapini.
If you want an easier, less time consuming way, just use a good quality store bought ricotta.
I gotta have a taste of this appetizer!
With the beautiful crema di cime rapa resting so elegantly on that luscious ricotta, all I need now is a good crusty bread and a knife to spread the Ricotta con Crema di Cime di Rapa.
Oh, this is good, real good. The ricotta is so rich and creamy. The puree of the rapini has this earthy, acidic flavor profile. I can taste the lemon zest and juice. The olives add such another depth of acidity and the ricotta along with that crusty baguette balances everything out beautifully!
This appetizer will definitely woo your guests this festive season. Its presence and aroma will surely bring a line up to the table, and the Ricotta con Crema di Cime di Rapa with its uniqueness will tantalize the senses amazingly!
Back to the story:
That day I met Nicoletta was a day that changed my life. She did play hard to get and I could see in her eyes that that year had been a bit hard. I understood but also knew that I could not let this opportunity slip me by.
We had dinner together amongst family and friends and we parted with a hug.
The next year was one of writing to each other and then phone calls. Nicoletta returned with her friend Laura. A good friend that was there to protect her. We got to know each other better and decided that we were going to give this long distance relationship a try.
After many visits from Nicoletta and my son and I going to Italy, which I must say was surreal, I decided to propose.
The proposal and happily ever after:
We were in Agosta, a countryside town just a bit away from Rome. I looked Nicoletta in her eyes and said I would love nothing more than for her to be my wife. She said yes.
We had a beautiful wedding at the Alberta Art Gallery in downtown Edmonton on the terrace. Truly a day to remember.
The following year we had another wedding celebration in the countryside of Italy. Yet another day to remember.
We have a sort of double life between here and Italy and I would have to say it is so beautiful!
I hear someone asking how did we become food bloggers?. Well……………. that’s a whole other story.
It is beautiful to give love and receive love in return. I wish everyone this kind of happiness. Dare to love, dance and cook as if no one is looking.
From us at Sugarlovespices:
Happy Holiday Season!
Song of the day: All you need is love” by The Beatles.Print
Ricotta con Crema di Cime di Rapa. A play on texture and extraordinary flavor. Beautifully creamy rich ricotta meets earthy lemony pungent rapini cream. On a crostini or baguette, sheer heaven.
- 1 bundle of rapini
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- Tbsp of lemon juice
- Pinch of red chili flakes
- 6-8 pitted kalamata olives
- Salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 4 ounces of fresh good quality ricotta
- Cut the bottom of stems off about an inch. Clean any spoiled or bruised areas or leaves. Wash and drain in a colander.
- Place in a medium pot of boiling water and cook for 5-10minutes or until fork tender.
- Drain and squeeze excess water out and place in a bowl to cool.
- In a food processor blend rapini, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, kalamata olives, chili flakes, and garlic. Taste for seasoning and texture.
- Season with salt and pepper, add more olive oil and lemon juice if it is too thick or until you achieve the consistency you want.
- Place ricotta in a small cheese basket or ramekin, press in firmly.
- Turn over on a serving dish.
- Spoon some of the Crema di Cime Rapa over.
- Drizzle some olive oil on top and around the plate.
- Cut up some baguette.
- Ready to serve
- If you want to make fresh homemade ricotta check out our recipe.
- If using store-bought, choose a good quality Italian ricotta.
- You may need more olive oil and lemon juice. Taste before and add if you want. Same goes for the seasoning.