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Love the Broccoli Rabe ! It only takes a few extra steps but, I like to Blanche first in chicken stock, then saute, adding some roasted garlic, finish up with some lemon juice…Oh yeah ! Now when I try to replicate a Tony Lukes Italian Pork, ya gotta add some roasted peppers ….take your tongue for sleigh ride !
That’s exactly the way I make them but in the end I give them a splash of white wine and right to the plate they go! Nice job Chef Elise!
Mmmmm, I fell in love with rapini (aka broccoli rabe) while in Puglia. I like to eat it with orrechiete in a garlicky, spicy, slightly bitter chicken broth. My inspired way of preparation: Rinse 1 bunch rapini greens, trim stalk ends about a half inch, and blanch in lightly salted, rapidly boiling water for a minute, strain and let cool on cutting board. Reserve 1.5 cups green blanching water and rinse pot out. In same pot, add 1 quart chicken stock, the reserved blanching liquid, and bring to a boil, add 1 pound orrechiete and simmer in stock until al dente. Do not strain pasta! Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, over medium heat, saute about 3 anchovy filets or 1.5 teaspoons of anchovy paste in a very generous amount of olive oil until nutty in fragrance. Break up filets/stir paste into the oil with wooden spoon as it transforms from ‘fishy’ to nutty. Reduce heat to as low as you can and add some red pepper flakes and 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced into rounds, swirling mixture until garlic is mellow and oil is well flavored. Chop rapini, stems and all, into 1 inch pieces, and toss in the olive oil over heat briefly, adding a dusting of freshly ground nutmeg. Turn off heat. Add the coated greens and olive oil to the al dente pasta and broth, stir, then serve in bowls with grated parmesan cheese and crusty bread on the side. There will be more pasta than broth, so it’s not quite soup, but make sure to include as much broth as you can. If there are left overs, the pasta will absorb most of the broth, but it’s still tasty. A quality thick pasta like orrechiete (usually use Delallo brand) can withstand this and not turn to mush, though it will get past the al dente stage.
Wow Jenn, it sounds fabulous. Thank you! ~Elise
We just had dinner in a small restaurant in Windham, NY, and I ordered their special: broccoli rabe, white beans, and sweet Italian sausage. It would have been a great dish (and I think that it could have been, given what my husband ordered, and how good that was). The problem? The pieces were not cut up, it was a bit too mushy (chewy, honestly, I almost choked trying to chew and swallow) – and the combination of all ingredients were very bitter. Maybe he didn’t blanch the rabe beforehand, but it seemed like the beans added to the bitterness, and by the end, I was having trouble getting through it all. I don’t know if this is a traditional dish, or what, but I’d like to try rabe at home and not have a similar result. It, like collard greens, is a bit intimidating. Maybe you have to do as some have suggested, and follow the Chinese practice of using opposing flavors…hmmm.
Broccoli rabe can be bitter. I’ve had batches that I’ve just had to throw out because neither I nor anyone at the table would eat it. Blanching should help. Also if you get a bitter bunch, try just taking a bit at a time, in between bites of other foods. ~Elise
Broccoli Rabe…molto bene!
Garlic and oil saute with lots of broccoli rabe leaves. Forget about the florets. Add Italian sausage cut up in 1/2″ slices. Red flakes if your like hot taste.
My problem is I cannnot get broccoli rabe in leaves only in Whatcom county. They love florets here???
Help out there!
This recipe is wonderful. I love bitter greens, so I skipped the blanching step. I added some grape tomatoes during the last couple of minutes. Yum.
Love your recipe, Elise! One of my dear friends who goes on archeology digs in Italy every summer introduced me to this recipe–and I love it! No cooking involved. Chop broccoli rabe (mostly leaves and florets, but by all means as long as the stems are thin, chop them up too). Sprinkle with sea salt (depends on how much rabe you have–1 heaping teaspoon?), sliver or chopped garlic, a few tablespoons of olive oil. Put in fridge for at least an hour. Salt acidity takes out bitterness. Put on bruschetta, can add fresh tomatoes, cheese (parm reg), or just delicisou as is…
I guess ordinary people call it “Rob” but my daughter’s 98 y.o. Italian American father-in-law (she and her husband are in their late 40s) grew up in Nutley NJ in an Italian community and they all refer to it as “Robby” so there are many versions of the word. He eats “Robby” many times a week. He himself prepares a big batch and refrigerates it. Perhaps that’s why he is still working at my son-in-law’s company at age 98. He also makes homemade pasta for all the gatherings they have, which are many.
I love this story!
I have only blanched it, sometimes frozen it for later in winter, then sauteed it with o.oil and some minced garlic. Taught this way by my italian father-in-law. This is the only way my husband and kids like it. I will try it with the onions, as my husband also loves those.
My take is that bitter veggies need an acid to counteract the bitterness. With rabe, kale, beets, etc. I cut/slice them (beets get peeled), then quickly steam them with a little water in a saute pan. Then I add a little olive oil and salt and saute them until they get some color. At the last moment, I add a splash of lemon juice and let it cook for 30 seconds to one minute. This takes out the bitterness and makes them creamy and delicious, but still with a bit of zip. I’ve converted more beet-haters to beet-lovers this way. A little minced garlic at the olive oil stage is a bonus, as is ground rosemary with beets.
Growing up in a Chinese household, we used to eat this all the time! Mom sauteed it with garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Pretty basic, but yum. I think blanching it first helped to take the bitter flavor away.
We like to have it with Sausage and red pepper flakes in my house!
Good tip about blanching the broccoli rabe first and sweetening the dish with caramelized onions. Even with all the “bitter” talk, you sold me on this dish.
Love Broccoli Rabe, cook it frequently, lightly sauteed in olive oil with fresh chopped garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and a bit of chicken broth because I love the juice. I’ve tried it with various pasta recipes but really prefer the simple saute. I don’t dumb it down by blanching or boiling it first. I love the bitterness. My next favorite is mustard greens and almost any green I pickup at the asian market. A lot of times I don’t even know what kind of green it is but take it home for a quick saute and haven’t found anything I didn’t like yet.
This is my standard recipe for all types of vegetables – broccoli, cabbage, beet greens, etc. Tasty! Unfortunately my friend’s foodie brother made broccoli rabe for us and even with his expert preparation, it wasn’t something I enjoyed. But the garlic/olive oil/pepper flakes combo is great on many things!
My family is not very fond of bitter veggies, and will seldom try anything that looks like cooked spinach . .! But I have gotten them to try Collard Greens . . can you fix the rabe in a similar fashion as the greens?
You mean with bacon? I think that would work. Or pancetta or prosciutto. ~Elise
I grew up eating lots of it, and unless you do it right, you can dislike it for life. In fact, we did call it ‘tobacco’ as kids! The best Broccoli Rabe is when the greens are young and tender, even before the florets have set, if you can get it. It is superb in stir fries and delicious just the way both Elise and Kalyn have described it. Do give it a chance! Very high in Vitamin A. I’m actually planning to plant some this fall.
I’m not a big broccoli fan, but I love broccoli rabe! I typically blanch it quickly, then saute it with sliced garlic and red pepper flakes. It’s good as a side, or with some sausage and orecchiette as a main dish.
My first time eating this was when a friend made it for me using pretty much the same recipe. The only difference was, he sliced up sweet Italian sausage and sauteed it with the onions. YUM!
It’s delicious! However, it is acutally pronounced RA-pay. The /b/ makes a /p/ sound!
You’ll find that people pronounce it differently in different parts of the country. Another pronunciation is “RAH-bee”. Though from what I’ve been able to determine through online research and talking to chefs, the most common pronunciation is “rob”. ~Elise
You said you had it cold the next day. It’s great that way but even better instead of lettuce in a sandwich.