Broccoli Rabe in Lemon Cream

January 22, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: 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.Amanda Hesser

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
In This Recipe


  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.

More Great Recipes:
Broccoli Rabe|Lemon|Lemon Juice|Milk/Cream|Vegetable|Side

Reviews (12) Questions (1)

12 Reviews

tamater S. February 24, 2017
By simply foregoing the crostini, this is a perfect LCHF recipe, and I thank you heartily for it!
Author Comment
Amanda H. February 24, 2017
Great to hear this!
ChefJune October 10, 2016
Hmmmm never before thought about softening it with cream. Love this idea.
MaureenOnTheCape April 25, 2014
This should be a genius recipe for the brilliant and simple problem-solving of rabe's bitterness with just cream and lemon. Thank you Amanda!
Author Comment
Amanda H. April 25, 2014
So glad you like it Maureen!
EmilyC August 30, 2012
What a lovely recipe. Made this for my parents a few nights ago -- everyone loved it. They'd never had broccoli rabe before (not something you can find in rural IL!) and my mom liked it so much that she's considering growing it in her garden next year.
ramrak July 7, 2011
Made this tonight, lovely!
I made this tonight along with some salmon and 2 words: absolutely fabulous!!! It was just wonderful and this is now my go-to recipe for rabe. I have done the olive oil, garlic and red pepper accompaniment for a few years now and this beat it by 100 miles! Thanks for a GREAT!!
I lost the last word in my above post...."recipe".
Author Comment
Amanda H. May 17, 2010
Glad you liked it -- it's my go-to, too!
oldgreenfarm February 13, 2010
have only just got around to making this --highly recommend trying it. the lemon (butter!) and cream are subtly luxurious vs. the typical olive oil, garlic and red pepper method. Ciabatta crostini was lovely to mop our plates.
Author Comment
Amanda H. February 28, 2010
Thanks for adding your photo! I'm making it again tonight.