Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One Sexy Vegetable: Broccoli Rabe

Maybe “sexy” is too strong to describe any vegetable, but I loved the way Aida Mollenkamp described broccoli rabe: “ . . . think of it as a sexier alternative to broccoli – darker and a little bitter.” Really, though, all that broccoli and broccoli rabe have in common is the name.

Broccoli is a crucifer and broccoli rabe is one of those leafy greens that we get so many healthy brownie points for eating. And the rabe has a lot of different names; the most common nom de plum is rapini. Call it what you like, it’s great. It does take a bit of minor effort to prepare well: It is bitter, like most greens, and a quick blanching is all it needs to take that pungency away.

I was introduced to broccoli rabe by my sister who cooked it for my daughter and me one girls’ night in at my daughter’s home in Florida. Lynn also taught me how to make ravioli using won- ton wrappers. I love ravioli but don’t have a pasta maker (hint-hint) and this shortcut worked just fine. Our filling was butternut squash. A quick sauté in herbed browned butter and we were done.

I have to admit, though, that when she picked up the last of what looked like a pretty wilted bunch of rabe at the supermarket, I was suspicious. But after a dunk in ice water, it was brought back to life.

So when the same thing happened to me, I didn’t panic and grabbed the all-too-rare appearance of rabe at my local market. I made a quick apology to my usual broccoli, said I’d be back next week, and took my prize home. (It was on sale, too!)

I tossed my blanched and sautéed broccoli rabe with feta cheese, chickpeas and a little bit of leftover angel hair pasta, but the adornments are endless. Next time, I think I’ll use crushed red pepper and fontina.

Simple Broccoli Rabe

1 pound broccoli rabe
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced

Place broccoli rabe in large pot of boiling water 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to over cook; it should be slightly hard. Drain the broccoli rabe then place it in a bowl with ice and water. Let it stand in the ice water while you heat the oil.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and garlic for 1 minute. Drain broccoli rabe really well and add to pan. Sauté for approximately about five minutes or until it’s as soft as you’d like it.

Then dress it up as you’d like, too: red pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese, chickpeas, feta, cooked pasta.


  1. I think they are sexy! I love Green!

  2. Food can be sexy. :o) This looks really delcious and I love the chickpeas in it - that's a really good idea. I really enjoy meals like this. It feels me up without feeling bloated!

  3. I do a happy dance whenever I find them. Grand, simple preparation.

  4. Great minds think on the same wave lengths, I just smiled when I saw that gorgeous plate of healthy goodness! I love broccoli rabe, chickpea's are a perfect accompianment! your salad is marvelous thanks for your visit!

  5. Being that I just had some fast food, this is what I need to cancel that out! Lovely.

    PS - I am so glad you liked the sliders, they taste great plus they feed a crowd!

  6. This is a veggie I need to try at home. Thanks for the simple instructions on how to do it right :)

  7. I have a pack of seeds for this. Hopefully, I will enjoy it as I've never tasted it before.

  8. I love broccoli rabe, and this is exactly the way it should be cooked. "al dente."
    You put a smile on my face and reminded me that I should make some soon...thanks for sharing!

  9. Can you beleive that broccoli rabe is something I have yet to try. I better get with the program:D

  10. I have never eaten this but you have made it look so good I think I will give it a try!!

  11. I love vegetable dishes as simple as this...and I agree, broccoli rabe is sexy! Thanks for sharing this with me tonight. Food and cooking has brought me much comfort during these hard days. Your blog is a burst of brightness. I hope you have a happy and safe Wednesday. Hug the ones you love!

  12. Incredible way of turning a veggie like Broccoli Rabe into a simply beautiful dish!! Cheers


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