the italian way of dining is not only famous for its pizza, but also for the ‘contorni’. contorni (or side dishes), mostly in the form of vegetables, are a very important factor in a real italian meal. the most traditional contorni are greens, like blanched fresh spinach leaves, fennel or broccoli. but you also get patatine (roasted potatoes) or tomatoes.
my mom makes a habit of adding contorni to most dinners, as it’s a good way to add to your ‘five a day’ (not that we need a rule to eat more). here, she used catalogna (both, the dark green leafy ends and the whiteish, inner buds, also known as puntaraelle) and cime di rapa – at least i think so? i’m never one to know my full italian contorni greens alphabet, pardon me. what i know for sure: the slightly bitter touch and simple processing give them the importance they deserve in a dinner without being too pushy.
directions: wash and cut into chunks. blanch for a minute or two in salted hot water, drain and cool under the running ice cold water. then pat dry with some kitchen paper. to make them even better, quickly heat the greens in a little olive oil with some garlic and peperoncino and season with some fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper. add a handful of halved cherry tomatoes to the mix. also, a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice or a drop of acacia honey to the ‘dressing’ will do good, try it! serve as a side to pasta, lasagna or meat – or as a starter, with some pizza bread. mangia!