Weeknight Cooking

Ooey Gooey Toasted Cheese + Rapini with Vin Cotto

May 25, 2014

We're celebrating Meatless Mondays with balanced, delicious meal plans. We hope you'll join us -- whether you're vegetarian all the time or just here and there. 

Today: The easiest way to eat cheese for dinner, and to feel good about it.


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Sometimes you want salad for dinner. Sometimes you want breakfast for dinner. And sometimes -- admittedly, most of the time -- you want cheese for dinner. You could make macaroni and cheese, cheese soufflé, or grilled cheese, or you could make something decidely easier (and just as delicious). Ooey Gooey Toasted Cheese is as great as it sounds: crusty toast topped with a layer of bubbling, savory cheese. 

Make your cheesy toast slightly more virtuous by adding a generous serving of broccolini to your plate. The greens get drizzled in a syrupy reduction of balsamic vinegar that begs to be sopped up with any extra bread. So what are you waiting for? Break out the cheese and make dinner.

The Menu

Take advantage of our handy grocery list and game plan, or click the recipe photos or titles to see (and save and print) the full recipes.

Ooey Gooey Toasted Cheese by savorthis

Rapini with Vin Cotto by em-i-lis

The List

Serves 4

1 pound rapini (broccolini)
Really good crusty bread of your choice
1 1/2 cups very sharp cheddar, shredded

Your kitchen is probably stocked with balsamic vinegar, sugar, butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, thyme, a small piece of onion, olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic, salt, and pepper. If not, add those to list, too.

The Plan

1. Mix 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Let the mixture reduce by a half to a third, about 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside. 

2. Meanwhile, set a large pot of water to boil. When it’s boiling, add the washed rapini and blanch for about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and set aside. 

3. Preheat the broiler, slice the bread into 4 pieces, and butter one side of each. Toast the bread in the broiler until brown. 

4. Mix the cheese with 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon mayonnaise, 1 pinch thyme, 1 teaspoon of finely minced onion, 1 egg yolk, and black pepper, to taste. Set aside.

5. Set a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, and 2 peeled, whole garlic cloves. Cook the garlic for a minute or two, then add the blanched rapini and let it sear for another minute or two, tossing carefully. After 3 to 4 minutes, remove the pan from the heat. The rapini should be tender yet crunchy. 

6. While the rapini cooks, spread the cheese mixture onto the bread and return the slices to the oven. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and brown. Grind fresh pepper over  the top.

7. Transfer the rapini, garlic, and pepper to a serving platter and top with any oil remaining in the skillet. Drizzle generously with the reduced vinegar. Season with more salt and pepper, then eat alongside your ooey gooey toasted cheese.

Photos by James Ransom

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • merri sue clark
    merri sue clark
  • Joanne Bowman
    Joanne Bowman
  • Allyn
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


merri S. March 13, 2015
I don't know if the mustard is dry or wet---it would make a huge difference! And yes, Joanne, you're right about the broccolini and rapini.
Joanne B. March 9, 2015
Broccolini and Rapini are not the same vegetable. The one pictured looks like broccolini. Rapini has lots of leaves with very small flower heads. Broccolini is not a bitter green, but Rapini is and is a member of the turnip family.
Allyn May 25, 2014
My dad has always been the master of cheese toast. It's never quite the same when he isn't the one making it.
When we want to eat cheese for dinner, kimchi grilled cheese is so the way to go. Drooling now.