Bright, bitter and creamy, this recipe for Lemony Broccoli Rabe with White Beans works equally well as a side dish alongside a roasted chicken or as a standalone vegetarian main.
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, ends trimmed (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon, very thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 cup water, or more if needed
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
- Extra crushed red pepper, for serving
1 Prepare the broccoli rabe: Cut any thick stems (with leaves still attached) in half lengthwise. Then cut all the stems into 4-inch pieces.
2 Blanch the broccoli rabe: Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and add 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Add the broccoli rabe and cook for 1 minute, turning them in the water occasionally so they cook evenly.
Drain and rinse with very cold water until the broccoli is no longer warm. Pat dry with paper towels.
2 Cook the lemon slices: In a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the lemon slices, overlapping if necessary, and cook without disturbing for 2 minutes. Turn and cook the other sides for 2 minutes more. The slices should be browned in spots. Transfer to a clean plate.
3 Warm the white beans: In the same skillet over medium heat (no need to clean), heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic, white beans, red pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 1 minute more.
4 Add the broccoli rabe to the pan and cook: Add the broccoli rabe and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes, or until it is tender when the stems are pierced with the tip of a knife. During cooking, add more water if the pan seems dry. Stir in the lemon slices and turn them in the mixture until the slices are just heated through.
Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like. Serve with lemon and red pepper.