We’ve had this leafy vegetable (also known as “rapini”) before, first with pasta and another time with pasta and sausage. The version with (turkey!) sausage is probably our favorite way to eat broccoli rabe, but we were intrigued to try it on its own as a side dish. Although I’m not typically a fan of cooked greens (sauteed spinach and I will never be friends, but Dan could eat it every week), rapini is a pretty hearty green that holds up well when cooked, without becoming mushy. We found this recipe incorporating garlic and pecorino romano cheese to complement the slightly bitter flavor of the broccoli rabe, and we adapted the cooking method by using a combination of saute and steam, similar to the way we cook broccolini (but even though we cook them the same way, don’t be fooled — broccoli rabe is more closely related to the turnip than broccoli.) We also added some red pepper flakes for a little kick and finished the dish with lemon juice to brighten the flavors. Dan loved the rapini cooked this way, and I can honestly say that I liked it well enough to add it to our (obviously limited) rotation of cooked vegetable side dishes. How’s that for a ringing endorsement?
Prepare the rapini by washing it, then cutting the leaves away from the thick stalks (discard the stalks) and tearing the leaves into large pieces.
Since the broccoli rabe cooks quickly, assemble the remaining ingredients up front: lemon juice, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, white wine and grated romano cheese.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the red pepper flakes and garlic and cook until fragrant — about 30 seconds.
Add the rapini to the skillet, stir it in with the olive oil mixture and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the white wine, cover and steam the rapini for another 2 minutes.
Off the heat, add the cheese, a squeeze or two of lemon juice and salt & pepper to taste.
We served the broccoli rabe with parmesan-crusted pork chops. I put a little extra lemon juice on mine and particularly enjoyed eating the rapini and pork together in the same bite. Adventurous, I know.
Broccoli Rabe w/ Garlic & Romano
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 bunch (about 1 pound) broccoli rabe, leaves separated from stems and torn into pieces
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2-3 tablespoons grated pecorino romano cheese
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for garnish
- salt & pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and cook until fragrant — about 30 seconds.
- Add the broccoli rabe to the skillet and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the white wine, cover the skillet and steam the broccoli rabe for another 2 minutes.
- Off the heat, add the cheese and lemon juice, then salt & pepper to taste. Serve with lemon wedges.