Trentino Turnips

Rape alla Trentina

Turnips, potatoes, cabbage, gherkins, red cabbage and something called a cabbage-turnip - these are the vegetables of Trentino and Alto Adige. Visualise the average market stall in southern Italy, bursting with colours and textures, sweet and erotic peppers, aubergines, courgettes, mountains of salad in incredible colours, every hue of green, orange, red, yellow, purple. Then think of these dull white turnips, these pasty white, green and purple cabbages that stand like sentinels in neat rows - endless fields of soon-to-be-Sauerkraut! And yet the flavours of this region are fantastic.

Here is a Trentino recipe for the humble turnip which transforms it into something delicious, worthy of any Itallan kitchen, in whatever region. Turnips cooked in this way taste really superb with lamb and mutton dishes.


  • 2 lb (1 kg) small turnips, peeled
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ wine glass olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon granulated sugar


Cover the turnips with water, add a little salt and bring to the boil. Cook gently for about 10 minutes or until tender, drain and cool. Slice the turnips into thin strips about half the width of your little finger. Pour the oil into a saucepan, heat it for about 3 minutes, then add the sugar. Allow it to caramelise slightly, add the turnips, stir and season with pepper. Cook for a further 10 minutes and serve.