Broccoli rabe is a variety of broccoli. It has long, thin, leafy stalks topped with small florets that look like tiny broccoli florets. The florets or flowers are quite delicate; the leaves slightly bitter.
Once highly prized by the Romans and cultivated all over the southern Mediterranean, broccoli rabe didn't appear in North America until the 1920s, when Italian farmers brought it to the United States. For years broccoli rabe was favored mainly in the Italian and Asian communities here.At the market you'll usually find broccoli rabe displayed in a refrigerator case sprinkled with ice because it wilts very easily. Choose firm, green, small stems with compact heads. Like broccoli, the flower buds that make up the florets should be tightly closed and dark green, not open or yellow. The Andy Boy label is the top of the line when it comes to broccoli rabe and should be bought whenever possible.
Store broccoli rabe in your refrigerator crisper unwashed, either wrapped in a wet towel or in a plastic bag. It will keep two or three days. For longer storage, blanch and freeze.Total Time: 20 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
- 4 bunches (12 to 16 ounces each) broccoli rabe (rapini), stems trimmed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
DirectionsWorking in batches, cook the broccoli rabe in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 1 minute per bunch. Transfer the broccoli rabe to a large bowl of ice water to cool. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Strain the cooled broccoli rabe and set aside.
Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until the garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the broccoli rabe and toss to coat. Add the reserved cooking water, and cook until the broccoli rabe is heated through and the stems are tender, about 4 minutes. Salt to taste and toss before serving.