In Season: Broccoli Rabe

Posted at 5:00 AM Dec 10, 2009

By Kathleen Willcox

When I solemnly march from fridge to counter brandishing a bunch of broccoli rabe, my husband generally behaves as if I've just cracked open a capsule of poison, cackled gleefully and poured it into a simmering pot of newt 'n fish eyeball stew that I will have my minions force-feed him as I ride around our apartment on the Swiffer Duster and watch him writhe in agony.

Not a completely unreasonable response.

If bitter doesn't suit your palate sans a touch of sweet, unadulterated broccoli rabe is about as appealing as a platter of braised rubber tires. Strangely though, I've found that tempering the broccoli rabe with an acidic burst of lemon juice mellows its flavors and makes even my sweets-obsessed sweetie dig in with gusto. Linguine, minced garlic, a splash of vino, fresh herbs and cheese never hurt, either.

Recipe: Broccoli Cast a Spell on Your Palate Rabe
Serves 4

½ pound linguini
1 bunch broccoli rabe, washed, roughly chopped with tough sections of stems trimmed and discarded
3 T olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ C white wine
½ cup fresh parsley or 1 T dried
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 t dried red hot pepper flakes
½ C grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste



    • Boil salted water for pasta in a medium pot. Cook until al dente, drain and reserve.
    • Heat sturdy large skillet and add oil until hot. Add shallot and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
    • Toss in the dreaded broccoli rabe, salt and pepper. Sautee until soft, about 7 minutes.
    • Stir in reserved pasta, lemon juice, fresh herbs, hot pepper flakes and heat until warmed through.
    • Plate and garnish with Parmesan and extra herbs if you like.
    • Eat and enjoy!


    Wendy said:

    Welllll ohhkaay, we'll go YOUR way.

    Tried it before and it was about as nummy as eating grass. Maybe there's new life with the lemon juice, and a hot plate full of linguine and friends certainly can't hurt the matter.

    Wendy said:

    You absolutely nailed the bitter flavor description, "about as appealing as a platter of braised rubber tires". Spot on.

    chris said:

    It's called rapini, first off...

    And it's a basic staple of Italian can be fried up with garlic, good olive oil and chili flakes with a pinch of's delicious

    As for it being bitter, get over it. Some things are bitter, other things are sweet. That's life.

    Merritt said:

    I love this stuff (which can be called broccoli rabe or rapini, among other things. It's a regional thing, y'all/you guys). Thank you so much for the recipe. I believe I'll try it for our family pot-luck.

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