By Lee & Lou Havlicek.
Lee & Lou Cook.
Broccoli rabe is one of those things that makes ordering anything it’s on, in, or served with a done deal. Our love for it runs deep—going back to childhood memories of Lou’s grandmother bringing down steaming plates, piled high with the sautéed green vegetable, studded with garlic and red pepper flakes, drizzled with olive oil.
If you’re not sure what exactly broccoli rabe is, it’s like broccoli’s slightly bitter, more interesting cousin. Slender and leafy, it has smaller florets and longer, skinnier stalks. We would probably say, if pressed, that it’s our favorite vegetable. Though it’s super common in Italian kitchens, it’s less so elsewhere. When cooked and seasoned well, it’s tender, tasty and the perfect compliment to any meat, fish, or starch. Pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage is a classic example of how to use it exceedingly well. But give us a bowl entirely consisting of garlicky, salty, spicy rabe with grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan, if you like) cheese: and we. are. set. Anything else served with or next to it is just the savory cherry on top.
While this recipe is super simple, there is a trick—if you can even call it that—which always ensures the broccoli rabe comes out tender and not stringy. When we make rabe for other people, the questions we get are mostly the same: 1. What is this? 2. Why is it so delicious? 3. How did you cook it? The answer to 1 you’ll find above, and answers to 2 & 3 are in the recipe below. Stringiness results from boiling or steaming, but parboil and then sauté and you’ve got what you’re (or especially we’re) looking for: the best broccoli rabe. Nothing fancy, but wholly delicious. As you can see below, the rest of the recipe is mostly “to taste.”
Extra garlic on ours, please.
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