Sunday, October 10, 2010

Broccoli rabe

Broccoli rabe, also known as broccoli di rape or rapini, is not actually broccoli. It's a relative of the dandelion and comes into season in the fall. It has a mere 9 calories per cup and is a great source of fiber. Only problem is, most people don't know how to cook it! I've had numerous people tell me that they only eat broccoli rabe when I cook it. In fact, my dad was horrified the first time he had broccoli rabe cooked by someone other than myself.

Here's the trick: broccoli rabe must be slightly overcooked. Crisp-tender will not work. I can't really give you a recipe, but this is simple enough to improvise:

Trim each stalk of broccoli rabe so that the stem is a couple inches long and a few leaves remain attached. Boil in lots of salted water (don't use a steamer basket!) until bright green, silky, and slightly overcooked. Run cold water over it to cool. Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a skillet (1-2 Tbs) and add lots and lots and lots of minced garlic. A head of garlic is fine. Add the broccoli rabe and saute for a couple minutes or until heated through and infused with the garlicky oil. Toss with red pepper flakes to taste, sprinkle with lemon juice and Parmesan, and serve.

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