BROCCOLI DI RABE aka BROCCOLI RABE, Rapini, Brucculi di Rapa, Friarielli, Broccolini…a family of similar bitter broccoli greens loved by Southern Italian. On Italy’s southern Eastern coast it’s Cima Di Rape…a type of Turnip Green, but they all have the same earthy, minerally, bitter and broccoli like undertone. Some people are always asking, “How do you make them Less bitter?” Well, here’s my answer. Use Spinach. If you don’t like that Southern Italian taste for Bitter things, this isn’t your vegetable but you can always make any broccoli rabe recipe with a host of the mild greens, especially in the winter. Consider Swiss Chard, Escarole, Spinach, Mustard Greens (ok, maybe not, they have a nice bite to them too..but expand the greens you cook with. Not only are the very nutritious for you but they are generally dirt cheap.) The key to this BROCCOLI RABE AL FORNO is getting the Rabe soft. This is a BISCOTTO dish, meaning it’s cooked twice. Once to soften rabe. Then again in a baking pan with the breadcrumb topping. I promise you once you taste this you’ll be making it again and again. Let me just point out that your kitchen repetoire should NEVER be “ONE” of any dish. In my years of blogging and posting on Social Media the most common comment when I post a dish like this is “that’s not how I make it”, or “I make it like my mom did” or “I didn’t know it could be made any other way”. There is no “ONE” Broccoli Rape recipe. There’s always the most popular, garlic, olive oil, peperoncino, maybe a piece of anchovy, ok, or not..simma down…salt and the rabe…finished with water, or wine, or stock then eaten as is or with sausage and cavatelli or orecchiette. Most foods enjoy a host of ways to make them. I chop Broccoli Rabe into Minestrone, roll it in a stuffed bread, pair it with beans, use it to stuff rollatini (get the picture??) or BAKE IT AND LET’S DO IT NOW!! ANDIAMO ALLA CUCINA (off to the kitchen we go).
TIME: 2 HOURS SERVES : 4
2 Fresh Heads of Broccoli Rabe, taking about 1 1/2 inches off the bottom, rinsing then drying between a few paper towels.
1/8 cup OLIVE OIL
8 GARLIC CLOVES, mince 3 of them. leaving 5 whole.
1 TSP. PEPERONCINO
1 ANCHOVY FILET (oh, you like them? add 2, no? you don’t? add none)
1/8 CUP WHITE WINE
4 TBS. TOASTED PLAIN BREADCRUMBS *in a hot dry pan, gently toast the breadcrumbs just until they START to turn color. They will go from untoasted to BURNT in a NY Minute, keep shaking the pan). Once they take on some color add them to a bowl. When they’ve cooled off add 3 tbs. grated Pecorino Romano. then drizzle with a little olive oil, pinch of salt, pinch of peperoncino or black pepper, your preference. Then reserve for later.
OPTIONAL: 1 TBS RAISINS SOAKED IN WHITE WINE….1 TBS TOASTED PIGNOLI
Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a medium sized baking pan and lightly coat with some of the toasted breadcrumbs.
Chop the Broccoli rabe into `1 1/2 inch pieces. This makes it easier to eat out of the baking dish. In a large heavy skillet or pot, heat the olive oil and add the broccoli rabe and make sure you get all the oil mixed in with it. Add the garlic (all of it, minced and whole), anchovy and peperoncino. Cover the pan and let this cook for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove the cover and stir. Season with salt. Add the wine..Mix. Cover and let this cook on low for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and let it cook until the liquid is evaporated. Turn the cook rabe into the baking dish and top with the toasted breadcrumbs. Drizzle with more olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until the crumbs are toasty and browned. Let is sit out of the oven for at least 5 minutes before serving. It’s wonderful at room temperature. It’s a great side dish to seafoods and grilled foods. Perfect for a buffet table. That’s another reason I like to chop the rabe smaller than you’d normally serve it. Easy access, easy to eat. Hopefully you’re going to add this to your recipe files. I might just have to make this again today!! HAPPY COOKING!!!