Tuesday, June 2, 2009

the revenge of broccoli rabe

Anyone who has had a garden, or even a CSA subscription, knows the feeling: The vegetables are there -- you've paid for them, or spent valuable time coddling them and growing them -- and you don't know what to do with them.

Such is the case with my broccoli rabe, also known as Cime di Rapa. I had heard such great things about this vegetable -- like broccoli, but leafier and milder -- so I grew a couple rows of it this spring. Now it's bolting and ready to be eaten, and I'm wondering how many ways I can cook it. I'm at a loss. I tried putting some in stir fry -- that was fine, but I wasn't blown away. Broccoli rabe has little heads, so you cook it more like spinach than broccoli -- leaves and all.

Tonight I made a breakthrough: I rediscovered a Mark Bittman recipe from a few months back, in which he cooks rabe with pasta and breadcrumbs. You can get the recipe, along with a video and a short article on the leafy vege, on The New York Times site, but I will summarize briefly how I did it:

  • Slowly fry sliced garlic in a fry pan with olive oil.
  • Pick a big handful of broccoli rabe.
  • Throw it in boiling water till limp, then spoon it out into a colander and cool under running water. (Keep the hot water; you will use it for the pasta.)
  • Put a few slices of bread in the food processor and make into bread crumbs. Fry bread crumbs with garlic, stirring often (even constantly). You may have to add a little oil.
  • Cook pasta in water.
  • Transfer bread crumbs and garlic to a bowl. Set aside.
  • Put rabe and pasta in hot fry pan. Stir up. Then transfer to bowl or plate.
  • Top with crumbs and garlic, along with salt and pepper to taste.

I just finished my bowl and realized I forgot to add the parmesan. There is always more broccoli rabe out there, so I guess I have another shot to get it right.

1 comment:

Scott said...

I just realized this would probably work with beet greens, too.