Amanda & Merrill

Broccoli Rabe: The Way I Like It

January 14, 2010

broccoli rabe

- Amanda

I love bitter greens but always assumed you should let their flavor stand alone as the outlier in a dish. A few years ago, however, I came across Broccoli Rabe in Lemon Cream in "My Italian Garden" by Viana La Place (the author most well known for "Unplugged Kitchen"). The cream softened the bitterness of the rabe, which wasn't a surprise, but a small squeeze of lemon juice transformed the dish -- brightening the mineral flavors in the greens and challenging their bitterness with acidity. Broccoli rabe and I started anew from that day forward.

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Broccoli Rabe in Lemon Cream

Adapted from "My Italian Garden" by Viana La Place

Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli rabe, stems trimmed, cut into short lengths
  • Sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • Buttered crostini

1. Cook the broccoli rabe in abundant salted boiling water until al dente, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain.

2. Melt the butter in a large saute pan. Add the rabe and stir well to coat. Add salt to taste and let the flavors meld over low heat for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the cream and lemon juice. Toss gently and let warm over low heat. Serve surrounded with crisp buttered crostini.


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Maria R. January 20, 2010
I cannot wait to try this recipe. Our family loves broccoli rabe, but I've only cooked it with olive oil and garlic. Your recipe will certainly add a whole new perspective on our favorite vegetable - thank you.
Hoskins S. January 17, 2010
I have loved broccoli rabe since reading Laurie Colwin's essay on it in her book, Home Cooking.
This recipe looks so good. I will try it this week.
Amanda H. January 18, 2010
I have to go back and re-read that because I don't recall it. Thanks.
Maria T. January 17, 2010
Like everyone else, Yum, Yum! In Portugal Broccoli Rabe is the most traditional vegetable in winter, including being a MUST for the Christmas dinner. So much so that now you can find them all year round. If you go to any restaurant and ask for a side plate of greens, that's what they serve you. The traditional way of cooking it is blanched, like you have in your recipe, and then sautéed in Olive Oil with a whole garlic and served with a wedge of lemon. It's very nice because you still get the bitterness that is softened by the olive oil. The same recipe goes for Beat greens. Didn't even post this recipe as I thought it was too bland for your liking! Now I am amazed that you post this recipe and everyone is going YUM. Thanks for posting the recipe.
Amanda H. January 18, 2010
You should never be afraid to post a recipe -- we welcome all!
sabina January 17, 2010
This is the way everyone else in my family may obsess over the near bushel of rapini I bring home from the farmer's market every week. I literally can't get enough of this plant. Thanks.
Amanda H. January 18, 2010
You're welcome -- it's definitely healthy feeling, even when doused with cream.
Ellen S. January 17, 2010
I actually love the bitterness of broccoli rabe and usually dress it with just butter and salt. But this sounds DIVINE. Luckily, I have all the ingredients on hand. . .
Amanda H. January 18, 2010
Hope it was a success!
Kelsey B. January 16, 2010
Mmm, this is a great recipe. I've been sticking to the Broccoli Rabe recipe from I Loved, I Lost... now I'll have to try this, too.
Amanda H. January 18, 2010
We should ask Giulia to weigh in!
Jennifer A. January 15, 2010
Mmmm - sounds great, thanks for the recipe and tips! I love almost everything broccoli, but could never figure out how to get over the sometimes overwhelming bitterness of rabe (which, for so long, I had thought was nothing more than pretty broccoli, and has always contributed the pungent taste to some fault in my preparation of it)
Jennifer A. January 16, 2010
I just tried the heavy cream and lemon juice trick with beet greens (I lightly sauteed first in a butter/olive oil mix). Very delicious.
Amanda H. January 18, 2010
That sounds terrific, definitely going on my list. We eat a lot of beets.
mrslarkin January 14, 2010
Oh, I will have to try this! My husband might actually eat his vegetables.
Amanda H. January 18, 2010
It converted my husband, who wasn't so fond of broccoli rabe before.
luvcookbooks January 14, 2010
Just made this for dinner, doubled the cream and lemon juice and mixed it with pasta for dinner (one dish meals are very big in our household).
Amanda H. January 14, 2010
Wow, you're fast! And love the adaptation.
spinthebottleny January 14, 2010
Love this--we usually do it with a ton of garlic and red pepper flakes, but this looks like a nice change of pace!
Amanda H. January 14, 2010
Your way is always good, too.
WinnieAb January 14, 2010
This looks great Amanda, and did you know that the acid in the lemon juice helps your body better absorb the minerals in the greens? 'Tis true!
Amanda H. January 14, 2010
I didn't know that -- interesting!
lastnightsdinner January 14, 2010
Winnie, that's so cool - does the same hold true for other acidic ingredients like vinegar?

and amanda - great dish :) This will be a nice change of pace from my standard preparation.