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Broccoli Rabe with Oil and Garlic

Broccoli Rabe with Oil and Garlic

It's come to my attention that some of my readers are a little unsure of themselves with respect to broccoli  rabe -- a situation that needs to be corrected ASAP!

Brocraberaw_1Broccoli rabe (pronounced RAAB; also called rapini, or just rabe) is a plant of the mustard family which also includes cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and  mustard (genus Brassica).  As you can see, the family resemblance to broccoli is strong.

Braccoli rabe has long been popular in Southern Italy, and in the last ten or so years has become widely available in the U. S. Like some of its relatives, it's slightly bitter, but once you develop a taste for it you'll be coming back to it again and again.  Long time broccoli rabe devotées (like me) can work up a good bit of passion for this simple weed!

This is the basic method of preparation, no matter whether you're going to serve it as a side dish, as I usually do, or in combination with other ingredients (subject of future posts).

Broccoli Rabe with Oil and Garlic

1 bunch broccoli rabe
3 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3/4 C low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes (optional)
salt, hot sauce to taste

Wash the rabe and trim off any yellowed parts. Trim off the stalk ends, cutting at a sharp angle, and, again with the knife at a sharp angle, cut the stalks in thirds. (This last instruction is optional: many Italian restaurants serve the stalks whole, for the diners to cut at table.)

In a roomy heavy-bottomed pot with a lid,  sauté the rabe in the oil over high heat, tossing constantly with tongs, for a couple of minutes. When the rabe is all coated with the oil and has turned a brighter green, add in the garlic, hot pepper flakes (if using) and broth. Cover tightly, lower heat to medium-high, and cook for 4 minutes. Toss the rabe with the tongs and replace the cover and let them sit in their steam for another 5 - 10 minutes.  Season to taste.


1. Blanching. Many recipes I've seen call for a brief blanching prior to sautéing, to reduce the bitterness. I've never felt the need to improve the taste so I haven't tried this. I guess if you don't like the bitterness you could try it, since so many people think it's a necessary step...let me know the results if you do!

2. Garlic. Of course, you can omit it if you like, though why anyone would actually do that is beyond me...


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better known as "cime di rapa" and best cooked with orecchiette :) they are gorgeous!

Thanks for the primer! I'm still looking high and low though haven't been to Whole Foods for forever, it's a likely find there. Maybe I'll make it the "March" vegetable, like fennel is for February.


I do this, but add some chopped anchovy and panceta to the mix -- it's a killer.

Hi Stephen
I love broccoli rabe, but never made it this way. I learnt to make broccoli rabe with sausage from an Italian friend and now it is a favorite in our home!

I think I have finally convinced my store to get this for me.

once i like this very meal about thirty days in a row for lunch. i often add anchovies as kevin does above - it's a pugliese way of preparing it and absolutely delicious. great with a crusty loaf of bread and a happy fruity glass of wine....


These look fantastic! I like to add a few chili flakes for some heat!

I just had rapini prepared in the most perfect way -- or at least I think... Instead of pancetta, grill some flavoured sausages like basil or sundried tomato, slice them up with and further caramelize with onions. Add white wine and saute. Then fold in cooked bowtie pasta and the prepared rapini. Sprinkle generously with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Powerful and complementary flavours that are to die for.

PLEASE share your sources for fresh Broccoli Rabe in the Raleigh/Cary area - cannot seem to locate it anywhere!

P.S. found your site when I googled for Broccoli Rabe and just Love it - quite addictive! :)

Rapini stems are delicious raw. I cut them off at about the level of the lowest large leaf, saving the tops to cook, then peel them, cut them into inches, and add them to salad. Just one more way to love this stuff.

Thanks so much for your site on Broccoli Rabe. I was cooking Organic Spinach Fettucini and there was a recipe on the back VERY much like yours! It cooked the garlic and red pepper flakes first in olive oil. Then a saute with the rabe and adding broth as well. After the rabe turns bright green they say to add the cooked fettucine. This recipe called for parmesan cheese at the end (1/3 c.). This may be because of the fettucine. Delicious! And thank you again. Lois

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