I’m about to give you a Broccoli Rabe Recipe that will change your life. Get ready!
First of all, you might be asking yourself: “What the hell is broccoli rabe?”. Sometimes people call it rapini, broccoli raab, broccoletti or even friarielli (if you’re in Italy).
Whatever you decide to call it, expect a vegetable that’s bitter and a little weird if you’re not used to it.
I’ll be honest. When I was a little kid, I hated broccoli rabe. If I smelled my grandmother cooking it, I’d run the other way.
And let me tell you: she cooked it all the time. This was long before it started to become popular in Italian-American restaurants.
But as I got older, my attitude towards broccoli rabe changed. That weird bitter taste I was so scared of as a kid became fun. I actually started to love it.
I realized that broccoli rabe was the perfect side dish for a big fat Delmonico steak or a nice bowl of Fettuccine Bolognese.
The rest is history.
What makes our broccoli rabe special
Now, I get asked all the time about how I make the broccoli rabe here at Mortadella Head because it’s so good.
They want to know: “Do you blanch it in boiling water before you saute it in olive oil?”
They ask: “Do you shave the ends of the stems before you cook them?”
The answer to both of these questions is: “NO!”
We make so much broccoli rabe at Mortadella Head that I had to figure out an easy way to make broccoli rabe in big batches. It had to be a quick and easy broccoli rabe recipe that tasted awesome!
So I tested a bunch of ways to make broccoli rabe and I think I have come up with the absolute best way to make it…and it’s SO EASY.
Let’s roast some broccoli rabe!
First of all, let’s see the ingredients for this roasted broccoli rabe recipe.
Broccoli Rabe: It comes in bunches at the supermarket held together by a little pink twist tie. It’s always packaged by the same company. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it.
Olive Oil: Use good olive oil. It doesn’t have to be really expensive, but make sure you get one good enough to drizzle on a salad.
Garlic: Get some fresh garlic and mince it.
Pecorino Romano Cheese: Buy a chunk and grate it yourself if you can. If you buy some already grated, make sure you buy it somewhere that you know grates it fresh.
Red pepper flakes: I like dried Calabrian chili peppers.
Salt: I like Kosher salt or a pinch of good sea salt.
Black pepper: Grind it yourself from the pepper mill if you can.
How to make your roasted broccoli rabe
This is so easy you won’t believe it.
First, you want to preheat your oven to 400° F degrees.
In the meantime, wash and dry your broccoli rabe really well. After that, cut off the ends of the stems. I usually cut off ¼ inch and throw them away.
Now comes the fun part. Start massaging your broccoli rabe. Really, start rubbing it together with your hands and squeeze in all of the other ingredients.
The goal here is to get all of the ingredients incorporated together. You want every piece of broccoli rabe to be covered in flavor. Take your time and do it right.
This is a really important step if you want awesome roasted broccoli rabe. Not only is this going to make sure each piece of broccoli rabe gets the maximum amount of flavor, but it’s going to tenderize it too!
Now, spread your massaged broccoli rabe evenly on an oiled sheet pan.
Pop it in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Toss it around with a spatula or big spoon at about the 10-minute mark.
You’ll know it’s done when it smells like you died and went to Garlic Heaven.
Take it out of the oven, let it cool and you’re ready to go!
Broccoli Rabe FAQs
That was the end of my roasted broccoli rabe recipe.
Now, if you have some doubts, here are some common Q&A. Let me know if you have any other curiosity, I’ll edit this paragraph with the right answer.
Q: Can you freeze broccoli rabe? If so, do you do anything special to it beforehand?
We usually freeze them and sell them frozen. People love them. The rabe is beautiful after you cook it from frozen. And no, you don’t have to do anything special to it.
Q: Do you take the leaves out of broccoli rabe?
No, they are totally edible, and I use them with all the other parts of the broccoli rabe.
Q: Can I use grated Parmesan cheese instead of Pecorino Romano?
Yes. Here is some info on what to expect.
Q: If I don’t have broccoli rabe, can I use this method for another vegetable?
Absolutely. I use this method of cooking for just about any leafy green vegetable.
Q: Do I have to use dried chili peppers?
No. If you don’t like the heat, leave them out. It will be just as delicious either way.
Q: What is the difference between rapini and broccoli rabe?
None. As I was saying before, rapini is just another name for broccoli rabe in Italy, although they are more famous as friarelli.
What to serve with them?
Meat: This roasted broccoli rabe is a great side dish with something fatty like sausages or pork chops.
Bruschetta: Get some crusty bread, toast it, rub it with a fresh clove of garlic and top it with your broccoli rabe and a drizzle of good olive oil. Wow!
Pasta: Toss your broccoli rabe in your favorite pasta with some garlic, olive oil and sauteed shrimp. Give it a squeeze of lemon and you’ll feel like you’re on the Amalfi Coast!
… and of course, you can add some pulled pork and make a delicious broccoli rabe sandwich like we did.