The Story of Broccoli rabe (BROK-a lee RAHB)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Broccoli rabe (BROK-a lee RAHB) . Growing up in an Italian family, the fresh smell of garlic frying and olive oil would be making your mouth water. Then you would hear the spatter of the broccoli rabe hitting the pan that still had water droplets on it. You would have to be very patient as the broccoli rabe would saute' in that pan for quite awhile, and that aroma was so hard to resist not eating before they were tender enough. That sandwich between two thick pieces of crusty Italian bread was beyond describing.

Also known as broccoletti di rape, Italian broccoli, rabe, rape, brocoletto, broccoletti, cima di rabe, rapini, friarielli and American gai lan—broccoli rabe is simply a non-heading variety of broccoli. This member of the prolific mustard clan has flavorful leaves and clusters of tiny, broccoli-like buds. In Italian, broccoli rabe means “turnip-broccoli.”

Like its cousins the cabbage and the cauliflower, broccoli rabe is a vegetable with all the good that is a great source of the antioxidants that help protect against cancer. It’s high in fiber and rich in vitamins A, C and K, as well as potassium, calcium and iron. So yes, its extremely healthy to eat. Maybe that's why grandma lived to 94!

Italians love this vegetable. It has been difficult to make this a favorite vegetable in the Italian/American households because of its sometimes has a bitter bite . I can tell you from my past experiences, broccoli rabe is far superior to conventional broccoli, as many gourmets believe also.

Broccoli rabe is cooked by steaming or boiling first, then frying or sauteing in olive oil and garlic cloves, we also add a little crushed red pepper . The cleaning of this is very important as the stems are tough and should be trimmed close to the top, and remove the thick stem area's with a paring knife. The bitterness can be alleviated by, boiling slowly on low for about a half hour, then shock them, in cold water. Broccoli rabe sauteed, taste great with oil and garlic over pasta. There are many recipes that combine this delicious healthy vegetable, often missed. Hard to find sometimes, but give this one a try its a winner all the way around and who knows it may be that one you wished you tried years ago....
2 medium bunches broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), trimmed and chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil first cold pressed
3 garlic cloves minced,
1/2 teaspoon salt
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Instructions :

1. Place broccoli rabe in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook 1/2 hour, drain .
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic till just starting to turn golden, not brown. Add broccoli rabe, salt and crushed red pepper flakes ....saute' on very low, around 15 to 20 minutes, till tender. Serve on crusty Italian bread or over linguine pasta....delicious!


  1. Great post! I am trying to include more dark greens into my diet. Broccoli rabe is on the list.

  2. thank you...glad you liked the post...

  3. This is my first encounter of broccoli rabe online and is happy to find this detailed post, even reminding us how to trim the vegetable.
    Thank you.

  4. This is my first encounter of broccoli rabe and happy to find this detailed post, even reminding how to trim the vegetable.

  5. Great post! I have always wanted to make broccoli rabe but was never quite sure how to prepare it. Great info!

  6. I never would have considered taking greens and making them into a sandwich unto themselves. All that garlic has got to be amazing though--soaking into the bread with the olive oil. Definitely something to think about in the future.


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