Broccoli Rabe (also Raab) is a leafy brassicas which is part of the mustard family, like kale, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, and arugula. Although the buds on this plant look like broccoli, they don’t form into large heads and it is quite distinguishable in appearance and taste. While the broccoli leaves are almost nonexistent, it is the leaves on rabe that compromise most of this versatile pungent and highly nutritious vegetable (the stems and florets are also edible). Making regular appearances in upscale raviolis, and chopped finely in our new PCC favorite chicken sausage (labeled as chicken-rapini), broccoli rabe’s bitter taste and textured leaves hold up to sauces and sautés very nicely. It is common in dishes from Southern Italy, Portugal, and in the Galicia region of Spain. Laura Russell pairs a lovely Romesco sauce with hers.
If you want to reduce some of the bitterness (I never do!) blanch the rabe for a few minutes and let drain, but don’t cook very long and make sure the water is removed. I plate it sautéed under savory meats with roasted or caramelized vegetables. Or maybe your go-to fish recipe needs a refreshing companion. For a vegetarian dish, add sautéed, chopped Rabe or lacinato kale to cooked white beans and garlic, with lightly sautéed sweet red peppers and a splash of vinegar.