Rioja, rabe, relaxation

The boys were in bed by 6:02p tonight, T is out of town, and all is quiet and still. In cheers to the simple gift that is this situation, I opened a nice bottle of Rioja and got to work on a beautiful dinner for one. Broccoli rabe, aka rapini and a member of the mustard green family, seems to fall into the love it-hate it camp. I don't know anyone who feels moderately about it, and I am decidedly in the former group. This is probably no surprise to anyone who reads Em-i-lis (remember, sounds like emily) with some regularity as I'm always going on about greens, how much I love them, how I definitely have the bitter-loving allele. A local godsend of a restaurant, 2 Amy's, makes an incredible rapini side dish: in-some-way-cooked rabe, olive oil, some red pepper flakes and a drizzle of vin cotto (Italian for cooked wine). It is sublime, and I order every time unless 2 As is serving fava bean crostini or on the rare occasion I opt for their absolutely perfect green salad.

In any case, I bought a gorgeous bunch of broccoli rabe at the farmers market this past Sunday and have had a real yen for it since. T avoids b.rabe whenever possible, so tonight is really the perfect night for me to indulge. I decided to toss it with black grapes and an olive oil-garlic-rosemary dressing, slow roast it at 325 and then drizzle with my own vin cotto, a reduced-by-half Balsamic. As an aside, I feel that vin cotto is of the gods and should be enjoyed whenever the mood strikes. Isn't the rabe gorgeous?

I'm also going to make Yotam's burnt eggplant with tahini as I've got a fresh pomegranate just waiting to be cracked open, and both of these dishes will pair so nicely with this big wine.