The Best Basic Broccoli Rabe Recipe

If you know me, you know how much I love to eat my greens. By the end of winter, though, I’m ready for a break from kale and spinach. I have juiced, smoothied, and braised so much through the cold winter months, that by the time June rolls around I’m jonesing for something new.

One of my favorite greens is broccoli rabe (you may know it as rapini). It’s a member of the Brassica family, so it’s related to vegetables like kale and broccoli. But what sets it apart is its distinct bitterness. Usually it’s an enjoyable flavor—a spike of bitter and rich green, but not overwhelming. But be warned, I have occasionally come across a broccoli rabe bunch that was too much even for a bitter-lover like myself.

The best way to prepare it is unbearably simple and always makes me feel like I’m dining at a restaurant in Rome. A quick blanch. A glug of olive oil. A few cloves of thinly sliced garlic. A sprinkle of salt. It’s so easy but so delicious it will feel like you spent hours preparing it.

I always have my partner help me out when I make broccoli rabe. I tell him I want my garlic “Goodfellas thin.” He knows to slice me paper thin sheets of garlic like he was in white collar prison with only a razor blade to use as a knife.

Goodfellas Garlic

Sauteed Garlic Broccoli Rabe

1 bunch broccoli rabe, bottom of stems removed
2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tbs olive oil
Kosher salt

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.

Add broccoli rabe, stir to make sure all broccoli rabe has been fully submerged.

Blanch in the boiling water for 2 minutes.


Drain in a colander and run under cold water. Be sure the water is run evenly over all the broccoli rabe. As soon as it’s cool enough to touch, toss with your hands under the cold water. Your goal is to make the broccoli rabe stop cooking with its own heat. When all the broccoli rabe feels cool to the touch, you can stop running water and move on to the next step.

broccoli rabe

In the same pot, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat.

When the garlic just starts to turn golden and is sizzling, add the broccoli rabe. It will add a nice amount of moisture so nothing should stick. If you need to, deglaze with small amounts of water.

Saute for about five minutes until the broccoli rabe has warmed through.

Sprinkle with salt and toss to coat.

Serve in a big platter, family style.

broccoli rabe

Do you have a favorite green that’s not kale? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @LitDarling!

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