Broccoli Rabe

Photo: Danny Kim. Illustrations by John Burgoyne.

Broccoli rabe, that ubiquitous cruciferous contorno, is known for its distinctive bitter taste. But for a fleeting period in the spring, before the new crop comes in, you’ll find overwintered bunches that boast a relative sweetness. Use them for this quick and easy recipe from Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi of Parm, who’ve masterminded a supermarket-sourced condiment so bafflingly good it should be a secret weapon in every home cook’s arsenal.

Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone’s Spicy Rabe

For the broccoli rabe:
1 bunch broccoli rabe, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 lbs.
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. chile flakes
Salt to taste

For the spicy sauce:
4 oz. B&G hot cherry peppers
2 oz. roasted red peppers
2 oz. crushed tomato
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp. chile flakes
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. sugar
Salt to taste

For the broccoli rabe: (1) Pull off any wilted or yellow leaves. (2) Cut off any tough or woody stem ends, and clean the rabe in cold water. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and chile flakes to pan, and cook until tender, about a minute or so. (3) Add broccoli rabe, and cook in batches until tender, adding a little water (approximately a tablespoon) and more olive oil as necessary, about 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt, and remove rabe to a bowl and let cool. For the spicy sauce: Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and mix until slightly smooth. To serve: Toss the rabe with the spicy sauce. Serves 4 to 6.

Broccoli Rabe