I had never had Broccoli Rabe until I met my Italian husband. And now I think I love it more than many Italians! It is probably my favorite green vegetable. Broccoli Rabe has a depth of flavor that isn't found in a lot of other green veggies. Many people don't like it because it can have a bitter flavor. If prepared properly, however, it is a whole lot of deliciousness. In New York, at the Italian grocers', you can buy this already prepared from the deli counters, here in California, I have to make it myself; which isn't hard but definitely limits how often I get it!
Be sure to take the time to par boil the vegetable. This step minimizes much of the bitterness.
Broccoli Rabe Two Ways
Broccoli Rabe Solo
- 2 bunches broccoli rabe
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4-5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Hot pepper flakes,, a pinch if you want it mild, many pinches if you want it spicier
Broccoli Rabe with Sweet Italian Sausage
- All ingredients above
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
Directions for Broccoli Rabe Solo
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- While the water is coming to a boil, cut the thick stems off the broccoli rabe just below the first leaf, then cut the broccoli rabe into two inch long pieces. (You can cook the whole stem, which I think makes a nicer presentation, but it will be easier to eat in smaller bites.)
- Put the broccoli rabe into the boiling water for 4 minutes.
- After 4 minutes strain in a colander and rinse with very cold water to stop the cooking.
- Spin dry in a salad spinner or wring the moisture out of the broccoli rabe using a clean dish towel.
- Heat a large sauté pan on medium high heat then add the olive oil.
- Once the olive oil is shimmering, add the garlic, the broccoli rabe, the salt, and the pepper flakes.
- Cook for 10 minutes until tender but not mushy, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat, add salt to taste and serve.
Broccoli Rabe and Sweet Italian Sausage - Main Course
- Prepare the broccoli rabe through Step 5.
- Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
- Cut the sweet Italian sausage into 1 inch pieces.
- Cook the sausage in the olive oil until cooked through. This should be about 8-10 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the sausage. When I buy the branded sausage, the cooking time is less than when I buy the fresh sausage from the butcher.
- Remove the sausage from the skillet and set aside.
- Add 2 more Tablespoons olive oil to the same skillet (less if there is still fat in the skillet, it will depend on the fat released from the sausage).
- Once it is heated up, add the broccoli rabe, garlic, salt, and pepper flakes.
- Cook for about 8 minutes, then add the sausage, with any juices that have accumulated, back into the skillet.
- Continue cooking until broccoli rabe is tender crisp.
- Add salt to taste and serve!
Gr8 Do Ahead Tips:
- You can prepare the Broccoli Rabe up through Step 5 and sauté when ready to serve.
- You can also, prepare the whole dish up to two hours ahead of time and serve at room temperature or gently re-warm over low heat.
Gr8 Serving Tips:Make a sandwich using the leftovers; Italian or French bread, broccoli rabe, mozzarella cheese or ricotta cheese, tomatoes and olive oil.
Gr8 Wine Tip:Pass a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape or Chianti Classico and you have a delicious feast! Mangia!
Gr8 Tip:This is an entire meal with a loaf of bread, or you can serve this over orrechiette pasta, which has been cooked and tossed in olive oil or butter.