The Minimalist: Baked Broccoli Rabe with Parmesan

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Broccoli rabe usually doesn’t make it past a sauté pan with garlic and olive oil, nor does it need to. But the extra step of baking it in the oven with a shower of grated Parmesan on top – which was suggested to me by the chef John Schenk, now at the Strip House, and which I wrote about in a 1997 Minimalist column — is one you should try.

Blanch the broccoli rabe until it’s bright green and nearly tender, then cook it in a pan with golden toasted garlic. From there, put it in a baking dish, sprinkle with cheese, and bake until it the cheese melts, which Parmesan does unevenly — but in a good way. This is a recipe that you can easily start cooking, stop, and pick back up later if you need to, either after the blanching or after the sautéing. You can also serve it at room temp, so despite the three-step cooking process, it’s pretty flexible.

You can use almost anything green and leafy in place of the broccoli rabe, too — spinach, escarole, kale, broccoli and so on — and you can certainly play around with other cheeses in place of the Parmesan. But there’s something about the bitterness of the broccoli rabe combined with the spicy-sweet garlic and rich, salty Parmesan that’s just right.

Click here for the video and recipe

Posted in American, Produce

One Comment

  1. Martha Hagood said...

    What a wonderful, flexible, simple little recipe. I eat a lot of greens, usually on the dark and bitter side. I bought two big bunches of different varieties of kale at the farmer’s market last week, and was in a hurry to get them cooked while they were still fresh and good. So I made this recipe two days AFTER I had lightly steamed the kale and stuck it in the refrigerator. I followed the recipe except for mixing in a half-cup or so of brown rice that needed eating. I used romano instead of parmesan, since that’s what I had. Otherwise I followed the recipe, and it was so good I had to MAKE myself stop after eating a third of it. I usually steam greens with oil and add sauteed onion and a little rice, and stir it all up with a savory white sauce, because the greens alone are a little intense. This was better.

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