The first time I ever tried broccoli rabe was at an Italian restaurant in Phillipsburg, NJ. My family and I drove by it many times on our way to church and, one day, finally decided to try it out.
The menu was mostly undesirable from a vegan’s perspective. I’d only been left with about two options: salad or sautéed broccoli rabe. Rabe was completely new territory for me; I only knew what it looked like. But being a person who’ll try anything once, I decided to take the plunge.
Garlicky with a spicy kick, broccoli rabe was a favorite of mine from the very first taste. I almost knew that I’d get that same thing every time we went there.
My fellow diners were enjoying their chicken alfredo and stuffed manicotti, but I didn’t care. I’d figured out how to eat vegan at yet another restaurant without sacrificing taste; and I was loving it.
Eventually, I branched out and started making broccoli rabe from home. I’d tried a lot of different recipes, but none had quite as much garlic and red pepper as I would’ve liked. And so, I decided to come up with my own recipe that suits my own tastes.
The recipe below was inspired by the restaurant’s broccoli rabe, but with my flavor preferences.
Restaurant Style Broccoli Rabe
1 bunch broccoli rabe
2 tbsp + 3 tbsp olive oil
12 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper (depending on your tolerence of spicy)
¼ tsp fine sea salt
Trim tough ends of broccoli rabe; wash rabe well. Set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp oil and garlic over medium-low heat for about five minutes, until garlic is slightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside for now.
Add the broccoli rabe and 3 tbsp oil to the pan, mixing to coat. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly tender.
Add garlic, crushed red pepper, and salt, stirring until evenly distributed. Remove from heat and serve.