Broccoli Rabe, also called "Rapini," is a classic Italian vegetable with a distinctive peppery flavor. It's not broccoli, but it is delicious!
I had never had Broccoli Rabe until I met my Italian husband. And now I think I love it more than some Italians do!
It is probably my favorite green vegetable. Rapini 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.
Take the time to par boil the vegetable as this step will minimize much of the bitterness.
Once it's par-boiled, drain it and rinse it with cold water. Then dry it in a salad spinner or lay the stems onto a clean dry dish towel. The rest is easy!
When you're ready to sauté, heat the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant. Don't let the garlic brown. Then add the rapini to the pan.
Toss the veggie with the oil to coat and cook for about ten minutes until cooked through and tender, but not mushy. At this point you can serve it hot or let it sit and serve it at room temperature. YUMMY!
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!
Broccoli Rabe, aka Rapini, is NOT Broccoli. The little buds look a bit like broccoli, but this vegetable is actually more closely related to turnips.
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Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4-5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 2 bunches broccoli rabe
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Hot pepper flakes, a pinch if you want it mild, many pinches if you want it spicier
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. (Use about a Tablespoon of salt.)
- 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 3 minutes.
- After 3 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. Or if you do this part early in the day, you can lay the stems out on a clean, dry dish towel.
- Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat, then add the olive oil.
- Once the olive oil is shimmering, add the garlic and the pepper flakes. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant, but not browned.
- Add the Broccoli Rabe and the salt and toss to coat the rapini with the oil. Cook for 10 minutes until tender but not mushy, stirring occasionally. (Sometimes I find I need to add a bit more oil.)
- Remove from heat, add salt to taste, and more red pepper flakes if you desire, and serve.
- 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.
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