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Jan 13, 2005 02:47 PM

Broccoli Rabe

  • s

I will be trying a new pasta dish tonight that calls for broccoli rabe. I have never used this vegetable, but I did buy a "bunch". Can you tell me if I need to disgard the leaves (there seem to be a lot more of them than there are with regular broccoli), or do I keep them and use them in the recipe? Thanks

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  1. Actually most recipes call for some or most of the stems to be removed, up to the part where the leaves begin.

    1. Sue,

      Here’s what I do:

      Trim ½” ends off and throw, (Ends), in compost.

      Cut Rabe, leaves and all, in 2” pieces. Blanch for one minute, shock in ice bath and sauté with EVO, S&P, garlic, shallots and chili flakes.

      Add to pasta of choice.


      3 Replies
      1. re: Frank

        Exactly what I like to do with it. Rabe is a bit of an acquired taste, but once you acquire it it's addictive.

        1. re: FlyFish

          I find, as with broccali, the end result is improve if you peel the stems.

        2. re: Frank

          Frank's recipe would also be good with the addition of some shaved or grated Percorino...

        3. Thank you both for your incredibly quick responses!!!
          Frank, what you describe (evoo, garlic) is pretty much what I'm doing. Just didn't know what to do with those

          1. I apologize for changing the subject slightly, but I see alot of TV Chef recipes using broccoli rabe and have enjoyed it at a few Italian restaurants (I think that's where). I have only seen it once or twice in the supermarket over several years of occasional looking. (I'm in South Orange County, CA.)

            Does broccoli rabe possibly go by other names?? I see something called "broccolini" all the time, but I don't think that's even close. I once read that broccoli rabe and Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan, I think it's called) are the same thing. If that's the case I do find it in local Asian markets. Anyone know more??

            1 Reply
            1. re: Midlife

              Broccoli rabe is also called/spelled broccoli raab, rapini, and sometimes broccoli rape, pronounced rah-pay, though that spelling is obviously not popular in this country.

              Rabe is close to Gai lan, but they don't have the same flavor. I've only had gai lan a few times but it is much milder, and doesn't have the same slightly bitter (and irresistible) flavor.

              Broccoli raab, gai lan, bok choy, and napa cabbage are all the same genus and species: Brassica rapa. So it's easy to confuse them, and they all share similar qualities and flavors. (Standard broccoli is Brassica oleracea.)

              Broccolini is, I believe, a smaller (or younger) version of "regular" broccoli.

              There is a big California broccoli rabe producer named Andy Boy that you might keep an eye out for. We get it all the time at the Whole Foods in Berkeley.

              Also, if you have a farmers market in your area, you might check there, though it probably won't be in seasonal markets until later in the spring.

            2. i cut off just the very bottoms of the stems, and cook the rest. I like it too much to discard any more of that. The ends go to the chickens, and they like it nearly as much as I do.

              I have seen cookbooks that advise discarding the "tough parts." My advice is to chop the thicker stems more finely than the rest...sometimes they can be a bit fibrous, but not if chopped or sliced thin.