I find broccoli rabe is a good seasonal vegetable for the winter months of February and March. It is a dark green leafy vegetable with dark green stalks and curly leaves with small florets at the top. This vegetable has many vitamins and nutrients so you will find it in most supermarkets and farmer's markets. It can used in soups, salads, pasta dishes, stews, and just as a vegetable side dish.
Broccoli rabe has become popular, here in the States, over the past couple of years. But it has been a staple vegetable in Europe for a lot longer. In receipes, you may also see it referred to as cime di rapa, rapé, rappi, raap, and raab. Broccoli rabe has a slightly bitter flavor on its own, but it pairs very well with cheeses, citrus, garlic and ginger. Although, not all at once, please, it might be a bit of over kill.
When looking for broccoili rabe in the store, I look for bunches with little browning or yellow leaves. Don't buy any where the florets are mushy or watery this means decay. The bunch should be green and the florets green with some yellow at times. It is quick and easy to prepare, and makes a great side dish for meals or to bring to a potluck.
Broccoli Rabe with Orecchiette
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 medium onion, diced
1 large bunches of broccoli rabe
2 tablespoons lemon zest, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound orecchiette, or pasta of choice, cooked
Cook orecchiette according to directions. Drain the water and set aside. In a saute pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, chopped garlic and onion. Saute until onion is translucent. Rough chop the broccoli rabe on a cutting board with a knife, discarding the long woody stems. Add chopped broccoli rabe to pan and saute 5 to 10 minutes until broccoli rabe had wilted, stirring often. Add lemon zest, basil, oregano and pepper flakes. Allow any juices released to cook off. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked pasta and toss to combine. Serve hot.
Your Turn: What are your favorite winter veggies? What's your favorite way to prepare them?