Broccoli rabe is a Mediterranean vegetable with a pleasant bitterness that’s best showcased in simple preparations. This sautéed broccoli rabe recipe is a perfect example. Embellished with plenty of garlic and toasted pine nuts or almonds, it’s a quick year-round side dish.
Popular in Mediterranean cuisine, this leafy vegetable, is known by many names including rapini and Italian broccoli, and is alternatively spelled raab.
Despite having “broccoli” in its name, it isn’t a cruciferous vegetable, but rather, a relative of turnips and mustard greens. Broccoli rabe isn’t generally eaten raw and is best showcased in simple sautés like this one.
These dark greens grow in leafy clusters that present with narrow stalks, abundant leaves, and tiny, broccoli-like florets. All are edible, and while some recipes I’ve seen call for starting to cook the stalks before adding the leaves and florets, I simply cut the stalks into narrow enough segments so that all can be tossed into the pan all at once.
To temper the bitterness, broccoli rabe can be blanched prior to further preparation, but for those who love it, the bitterness, which is fairly mild, is pretty much the point. Try it both ways to see what your palate prefers.
Swap-in: If broccoli rabe turns out not to be your thing, try making this dish with broccolini.
- 1 pound broccoli rabe
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or 1/3 cup slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Trim any woody ends from the broccoli rabe and cut into large bite-sized pieces. Cut any thicker stalks in half lengthwise to ensure even cooking. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet or stir-fry pan (the same one you’ll be using to sauté the broccoli rabe). Add the nuts and toast over medium-low heat until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring very frequently (keep an eye out, you don’t want to burn those expensive pine nuts!) Remove to a bowl and set aside.
- Heat the oil in the same skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the garlic and sauté over medium-low heat for a minute or two, or until golden.
- Stir the broccoli rabe. Sauté until bright green and tender but still firm, 5 to 8 minutes, adding small amounts of water as needed, just to keep the skillet moist (if you have a bottle of white wine open, that works, too!)
- Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving dish or platter. Scatter the toasted nuts over the top and serve at once.
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