Broccoli Rabe, Sausage and Cannellini Beans

July 11, 2011
4 Ratings
Photo by Adam
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Broccoli Rabe, AKA, Rapini is a very common Southern Italian staple. Italians love their greens, which may attribute to their overall health. While many think its all meat and pasta, there is a definite balance, and vegetables and fruits are a mainstay. In fact, until the Mid-Sixteen Century Neapolitans were called Mangiafoglie or Leaf Eaters. (Source:Naples at Table by Arthur Schwartz)
I grew up with Tess cooking all sorts of greens, but I never cared for the Italian ones. They can be an acquired taste because they can be bitter. But, cooking broccoli rabe correctly is the secret to creating a greens dish that I would proudly serve as a main course.

What You'll Need
  • 1-2 bunches Broccoli Rabe/Rapini
  • 1 pound Bulk Sweet or Hot Sausage (can be omitted for a vegetarian dish)
  • 1 Can Cannellini Beans rinsed and drained
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 Anchovies
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 splash White Wine
  • 1/3 cup Chicken Broth
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 handful Grated Parmesan Cheese
  1. Separate, wash and dry the broccoli rabe. The key to removing the bitterness from the greens is to blanch them in heavily salted boiling water for five minutes and drain. If you do not take this step they will be very bitter.
  2. Next, sauté the garlic in olive oil in remove as soon as it starts singing and then add the anchovies and break down with the back of a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the sausage, brown while breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Once browned add in the beans and broccoli rabe, season with salt and pepper and once everything is sizzling nicely add the crushed red pepper, stir for a second and add a splash of white wine and let it sizzle in.
  4. Lastly, add the chicken broth (my measurement is approximate you need some liquid but you don’t want it runny). Simmer on low uncovered for about 10 minutes. Serve on a platter and sprinkle with the parmesan.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Ann Rock
    Ann Rock
  • Adam
  • Heather Strom
    Heather Strom
  • juliemullermccormick

6 Reviews

juliemullermccormick October 5, 2022
I used to get this dish at a wonderful restaurant long ago. My changes included using two small cans of beans, not one (had 2 bunches of broccoli rabe). I put broccoli rabe in boiling water for no more than 2 minutes then transferred to large sauce pan with all else and used anchovy paste. Worked perfectly and was wonderfully tasty.
christocc January 22, 2022
First, broccoli rabe is supposed to be bitter. Why remove the bitterness? If you don't want bitter, use regular broccoli!

Second, blanching for five minutes is not blanching, it's cooking! Blanching should take no more than two minutes.

Ann R. November 6, 2020
I have made my own version of this dish but I hadn’t made it in a while so I looked up a recipe for a refresher. It turned out the absolute best! Restaurant quality. I didn’t have anchovies so I used fish sauce. Can’t wait to make it again!
Adam June 20, 2019
I made a few alterations. First of all, after cooking this exactly as directed, it did not have enough garlic flavor for my pallet. So I minced 4 cloves. First I cooked the anchovies in the oil, then added about 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. After that cooked out, I added 4 minced cloves of garlic and cooked for 30-60 seconds. Then followed the recipe as written. Love it!
SweetPeaz February 15, 2018
I saw this and said to myself, "Blanch for five min? Too long."
Blanch stems for 1 min. Add the rest for another minute. Stop cooking in an ice-water bath.

That's how I always cook broccoli rabe. My grandmother was an excellent Neopolitan cook and that's where I learned.

Another worthwhile twist: saute some tomato paste (say, 1 tbs or so) with the garlic and let it caramelize a bit.
Heather S. February 1, 2018
Not sure what happened... followed this to the letter and the broccoli rabe was total mushy slime. Any ideas?