It’s officially the holiday season in Italy, and that means there are lights everywhere, glowing in every street. This year two giant fir trees adorn the central piazza. Ladies are already strolling in their fur coats and red and gold decorate every shop window. It also means we’re eating. A lot. So tonight Manu and I are doing a bit of a detox, but in style. We’re going to cook up a huge batch of this lemony broccoli rabe and eat it with crusty whole grain bread drizzled with his family’s super fresh olive oil. (Super fresh as in, they picked the olives this week.)
Broccoli rabe is like kale’s Italian cousin, since it’s more bitter greens than broccoli. It's in season now, and everyone here eats it with pasta, or on its own at dinner time. It's basically food for health and longevity at its best!
Sauteed Lemony Broccoli Rabe
1lb broccoli rabe
1 tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp black pepper (or crushed red)
1 tsp salt* (You might need more, check the seasonings after the rabe cooks)
1/2 lemon zested
2 tbs lemon juice
Heat the oil, whole garlic clove and pepper in a stockpot over medium heat. When it sizzles, add the broccoli rabe, washed and still wet. Add the salt, cover and cook until completely wilted, about 5 minutes or so. Add the zest and juice. Serve with bread, atop pasta, as a side dish, or alone.
Have you ever tried broccoli rabe? What do you eat to balance out the holiday cookie/candy/roast/pudding madness?
P.S. Speaking of the holiday season, today I'm teaching 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to my students, complete with this Perry Como recording of the poem. Love.