Broccoli rabe is one of my favorite vegetables. It is great as a side dish or over pasta. Broccoli rabe is typically sold by the bunch and I buy at least one almost every time I shop. I cook this so often that I have become quite snotty about ordering it at restaurants. It is often too oily or too mushy or too something-y for my taste. I prefer to make it myself since its’ quick, easy and always comes out delicious.
Do I have to parboil the broccoli rabe?
Yes!!!! It is important to parboil the broccoli rabe. Do not skip this step! Parboiling will transform your broccoli rabe from a bitter vegetable that adults and kids alike with scoff at, to the perfect side dish. For those of you not up on your cooking terms, parboiling is when you partially cook a vegetable by briefly boiling it in water. Some recipes will have you then put it in an ice bath to stop the cooking process (this is technically called blanching…look at you learning all these cooking terms!), but I find that it is really an unnecessary step. Our goal here is to keep it as simple as possible. But just remember, you must parboil! And if you are doubling or tripling the recipe, just parboil in batches or get out your biggest pot.
How many does one bunch of broccoli rabe serve?
Be aware that broccoli rabe cooks down quite a bit. Just when you think you have bought enough, you finish preparing it and think to yourself, “Where did it all go?”. I find that one bunch really only serves two people. I mean, I could easily eat the whole thing myself, but I usually share!! So, if you are cooking for a family of four, make sure to by two bunches and double the recipe. The good news is that if there happen to be leftovers, broccoli rabe reheats quite nicely. In fact, if I’m having company over and on my game, I make it the day before. It reheats in the microwave well and sometimes I think it even tastes better the next day.
Can I adjust the recipe?
Of course!!!!! You will see that this recipe really is only broccoli rabe, garlic and spices. For me, salt and pepper are musts and I put garlic powder on everything, so if you’re a garlic lover like me, be generous. I also like a little heat, so I usually add red chili flakes, but be careful…these can get away from you. Personally, I do not like my broccoli rabe oily as many restaurants serve it, but if that’s your thing, just add as much as you want when you are sautéing. Remember, you’re the chef!
Broccoli rabe makes a great side dish (try it with these Spaghetti Squash Cakes, Stuffed Zucchini Boats, No Fry Eggplant Stacks or some Simple Slow Cooker Chicken) or over toss it with pasta and call it dinner. As always, let me know how your Sautéed Broccoli Rabe comes out be leaving a comment below. Enjoy! Buen provecho!
Sautéed Broccoli Rabe
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 or more garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 bunch of broccoli rabe stems discarded
- ¼ tsp garlic powder optional but recommended
- salt and pepper to taste
- pinch of red chili flakes if you would like some heat
- grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan optional but a welcomed finishing touch
- Bring salted water to boil (I usually use the same skillet that I am going to sauté in for less clean up). Decide if you want to keep the broccoli rabe stalks long or coarsely chop (I like to coarsely chop). Boil broccoli rabe for three minutes or just until tender. Do not over cook! Drain and set aside.
- Warm oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté three (or more—I used six, but I love garlic!) sliced garlic cloves for 2-3 minutes until fragrant, stirring occasionally. Add parboiled broccoli rabe. Toss with salt and freshly ground pepper along with any other desired spices (I always use garlic powder and red chili flakes for some heat). Cook for about 3 more minutes until tender. If using, top with cheese. Serve as a side dish or over pasta. Buen provecho!