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As a general rule, modern Italians are far more interested in turnip greens (cima di rapa) than the lowly root vegetable, but before the advent of the potato, turnips (rape) were an important part of the northern Italian peasant diet. One kind, the big yellowish sweet rapa di Caprauna, grown in Piedmont's Upper Tanaro Valley, is in the Ark of Taste.

rapa acida: pickled turnip. See brovada

rapa rossa: beet, otherwise known as a barbabietole.

rapa can also mean 'julienned', as in sedano rapa: julienned celery root.

In Friuli, the turnips and greens are macerated for two to three months and made into a kind of pesto called pestith, used as a side dish with sausage and polenta.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Aurelien Guichard