Have you ever wondered how to cook broccoli rabe? This Italian-Style Garlicky Broccoli Rabe recipe is the best way to make it less bitter. The combination of olive oil, garlic, cheese and crushed red pepper will provide you with the best rapini recipe aka sauteed broccoli rabe.
Farmer’s Markets are just great in the summer, aren’t they?
The abundance of produce with vibrant colors provides the perfect motivation to try all kinds of recipes. In an attempt to get inspired, I visited a local “market” this week-end.
As soon as I laid my eyes on the rapini, I knew I had to purchase it. During the car ride home, I couldn’t decide which of these two rapini recipes I was going to make. Was I going to prepare Broccoli Rabe Cavatelli Pasta or another favorite of mine, Italian Broccoli Rabe Orecchiette Pasta?
I’m guessing right now that there are some of you who love this stuff, some who hate it and some who have no idea what I’m talking about.
So let’s start with identifying broccoli rabe.
What is Broccoli Rabe aka Rapini?
Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini (in Italian) is a member of the cabbage family. It has a 6 to 9 inch stalk and a few broccoli-like clusters. This green vegetable distinguishes itself from the rest because of its bitter taste — perhaps an acquired taste. Chances are that if you are a fan of arugula, you will like broccoli rabe.
What to look for when buying Broccoli Rabe:
- florets and stems should have a dark green color;
- stems should be firm;
- florets should be tightly closed.
So now that we know what broccoli rabe is, what do we do with it?
How to cook rapini:
- The first thing you need to do is trim the stems, taking off anywhere from 1-2 inches, the goal being to remove as much of the tough stalk as possible.
- Then, just like any other vegetable, it needs to be washed.
- Once that’s done, you need to cook it in a large pot of boiling, salted water until tender. Remove the broccoli rabe from the water and drain.
- Try to squeeze out (with your hands) as much water as possible.
According to some, this process removes some of the bitterness.
How to make Sauteed Broccoli Rabe:
- Over medium heat, drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet.
- Saute 2-3 cloves of minced garlic along with some red chili flakes (if using) for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the cooked broccoli rabe and sautee for a few minutes.
- Finally. season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.
That’s it! Once plated drizzle with olive oil and more cheese, if desired.
Broccoli Rabe Recipes:
Here are some ideas you can use the sauteed broccoli rabe with garlic. No recipe required to incorporate this bold tasting vegetable…
- with pasta;
- in soups;
- as a topping for pizza;
- with polenta or
- in a sandwich.
Dark Green Vegetables we love:
ORIGINS OF THE RECIPE FOR Italian-Style Garlicky Broccoli Rabe:
Growing up Italian meant we would have broccoli rabe at least once a week. Just like this recipe for Swiss chard it would be served as a simple side or combined with other foods.
As was previously mentioned, more often than not, my mom would combine it with different pastas. My favorite was (and still is today) with Homemade Cavatelli!
I would encourage you to try out this Italian-style garlicky broccoli rabe recipe– this stuff really does grow on you. Let me know if you love it or hate it, but at least you can’t say you’re confused by it anymore!
THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the She Loves Biscotti community where you will find Simple & Tasty Family-Friendly Recipes with an Italian Twist.
Ciao for now,
★★★★★ If you have made this Broccoli Rabe recipe, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
Italian-Style Garlicky Broccoli Rabe
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- pinch red chili flakes optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- parmesan cheese optional
- olive oil for drizzling
- Trim the stems, anywhere from 1-2 inches.
- Wash broccoli rabe properly.
- Cook broccoli rabe in a large pot of salted boiling water until tender for approximately 5-7 minutes.
- Drain and squeeze in order to remove as much of the liquid as possible.
- Over medium heat, drizzle olive oil in a large skillet.
- Sauté minced garlic and chili flakes for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in the broccoli rabe and saute for 3-5 minutes or until tender.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
- Place on serving dish and drizzle with olive oil.
Beautiful !!!!! Made this tonight . It was a big hit! Next time I make this I will double the recipe because it was so enjoyabe 🙂
How wonderful Alana! Thanks so much for sharing.
I’m wondering….my great grandma made a “spicy broccoli” type mash that I remember from my childhood. She obviously didn’t leave us directions and no one remembers how she made it. Would you describe rabe as peppery or just bitter like kale? My grandmother’s dish was quite spicy (garlic -y, warm almost hot but I can’t say that it was red pepper hot) and it was delicious. I was about 5 and I can still taste it. I wonder if rabe is what she used instead of broccoli and that is why we can’t get it to come out right when we try to recreate it!! Now to find rabe locally where I live!! I have to try this! Thanks for sharing!
My pleasure Tammie. I would say it tastes more bitter than peppery. I agree it can sometimes be challenging to find this wonderful vegetable. Thanks so much for taking the time to share.
My first time trying Broccoli Rabe aka Rapini. This may be my new favorite green veggie, and this method I will try on other greens such as Chard.
How wonderful! It truly is such a great vegetable!
Can I leave out the salt & season with 1 pkg of Goya chicken broth powder that was added to 1 cup of boiling water?
Thanks for your interest Elizabeth. I think that would be fine. You can always taste and adjust if necessary. Enjoy!
Why would you want to do that?
Love this! I added the beans as suggested by another reviewer. YUM! My husband said, “Can we have this again tomorrow night?” This was my maiden voyage with rabini, and the only caveat I would add is that what I thought was a large bunch of broccoli rabe was barely enough for two even with the addition of the beans. I would love to have had a more specific measurement of raw rabini to start with.
Great comment Barbara! Thanks so much for sharing. Next time I pick up some Broccoli Rabe I will weigh them and update the recipe. Thanks so much for stopping by.
For a heartier dish add some cannellini beans (or other favorite).
Such a great addition! Thanks Sharon!
I’ve been eating broccoli rabe for many years . My favorite recipe is for breakfast. Yes breakfast. I scramble two eggs add red pepper flakes
About one cup of broccoli rabe blend together and pour it out on to a hot
( medium heat ) Small frying pan. About 2-3 minutes on each side. Bam!
That now it goes on a bread that has sun dried tomatoes in it .
You can’t beat the for a great breakfast. I recommend it to anyone
Who loves broccoli rabe. Oh don’t forget the latte.
Joseph Battaglia. Yes I’m Italian.
Thanks so much for sharing Joseph! That sounds like a great way to start the day.
Do you take off the leaves and just leave the stem and flowers ?
Thanks for your interest Josn. I only trim the ends of the stems as they can sometimes be tough… leaves stay on. Enjoy!
I’ve done rabe before and couldn’t get it right. Excellent procedure. Makes a very tasty dish. Served it with a small rib steak. Even forgot the Parmesan. Still flavorful. Big Thumbs up.
So thrilled to read this! Thanks so much Rod!
I’m on a low carb diet. I’m going to try it with spaghetti squash!
I’m sure it will be delicious! Thanks for stopping by Carmen!