Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Broccoli Rabe: It's not easy eating green

The title is misleading; I really enjoy broccoli rabe. What's true is that my husband and children find it repellent.

Broccoli rabe (pron: rob) is not a type of broccoli. Both are members of the large Brassicaceae family but rapini (as it’s also known) is of the species Brassica rapa along with turnip, napa cabbage and bok choy. Broccoli hangs with cauliflower, brussles sprouts and kale in the Brassica oleracea species.

When I cooked and served it recently no one cared about its scientific classification. My loved ones do not resemble Barbara Kingsolver’s gleefully omnivorous family (as chronicled in her still great book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle). No, my loved ones hated broccoli rabe with a fervor usually reserved for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Don’t tell them, but I only cooked half the large bunch. I plan to sneak some into a spring soup au pistou tonight.

For the adventurous - or unsuspecting - here’s how to prepare broccoli rabe as a side dish.

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe
Print recipe only here

In a sauté pan, heat (over a medium flame):
• 1-2 T olive oil
• Pinch chili flakes

Add 2 cloves garlic, smashed slightly and sauté until the garlic is lightly browned and fragrant.

Add one bunch rapini - about 12 ounces and cook for about 5-6 minutes until tender, tossing gently every so often. I prefer it cooked al dente; cook longer if you like.

Add a generous pinch of kosher salt and serve.


Jessica Paul said...

Have you ever made them Orecchiette with Spicy Sausage and Broccoli Rabe?
I think it's a pretty traditional Italian dish so you can probably find a million variations on the recipe but Giada DiLaurentiis's is sooo yummy. I make it once a week in the fall and winter. It's so easy and quick, too. It might be way to sneak the broccoli rabe into your family's diet (if that's a goal).

Katie Fairbank said...

Oh, that is a good one. I haven't made it in a long time. Thanks for jogging my memory. I just altered Giadia's recipe to my specifications and posted it. What sausages do you like? I love the traditional Italian ones, but opt for the leaner chicken variety (Italian style) at TJ's...

Unknown said...

I'll have to try your tomato-y version! I was just looking for raw chicken or turkey sausages at TJ's and couldn't find them! I'll have to look again. I usually use the spicy Italian turkey sausages from Whole Foods. They are a relative bargain, but they don't always have them. In my old age I have developed an illogical disdain for pork (excepting ribs from Twin Anchors! :)so I love the poultry options for this recipe.

Unknown said...

OK, I have to share my Italian grandmother's (Carmela Natalie Vattima Jannetti) trick for making the rapini a bit more friendly. SHe balnces it first in boiling salted water - it seems to suck out some of the bitterness. Then drain it, and dry it before sauteeing it a la Katie Buon Appetito!

Unknown said...

So sorry for not checking my work! I meant to say that she BLANCHES it!

Dick Brubaker said...

i love rab, not to many people like it and think its bitter

interesting post, i enjoyed reading it.
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