What Are Friarielli? How Do I Cook Them?

Have you had the pleasure of eating friarielli? This bitter but tasty Italian leafy green goes by many names so it can be hard to find outside of Italy.

The Romans call it broccoletti due to its resemblance to broccoli. In Naples, locals call it friarielli while further south in the region of Puglia people refer to it as cime di rapa. In the United States it is known as broccoli rabe.

As with most cruciferous vegetables, friarielli is exceptionally flavorful when sautéed with garlic and olive oil. It is wonderful paired with pasta and is a nice flavor contrast to meats and seafood.

If you can’t find friarielli in your local markets opt for arugula and turnip greens which make suitable substitutes. 

How To Prep Friarielli

Some cooks like to blanch friarielli before mixing it with other ingredients because the stems are a bit tough.

On the other hand, chef Laura Vitale recommends getting rid of the tough stems and using only the leaves and tender parts. Take a look at her great tips for prepping broccoli rabe:


Here are some easy recipe ideas for using friarielli in your kitchen:

Orecchiette with Cime di Rapa

This legendary dish from the southern Italian region of Puglia (located in the heel of Italy) pairs cime di rapa with orecchiette pasta.

Learn how to make this traditional pasta dish.

Here is an alternative recipe featuring arugula instead of friarielli.

Friarielli with Lentils and Scallops

A great use for friarielli, or cime di rapa, is to cook them with lentils and scallops.

This recipe from chef Theo Randall shows you how to do it.

Friarielli with Italian Sausage

Chef Mario Batali cooks up a winning recipe by pairing friarielli with sausage.

Learn how to make this irresistible recipe.

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