We came home from our vacation to find our refrigerator quite bare. That is natural given the circumstances, I mean who would want to go away and leave perishable food in their refrigerator? Who knows what you would come home to!?! So we came home to nothing “fresh” to cook and only pantry staples. So, I headed over to the market; something fresh, bright in flavor, and comforting to eat was in order.
As I walked through the market I spotted it - Braccoli Rabe (or Rappi if you want to call it that). I know that I wrote on here before about my affection for this vegetable and how I grew up eating it. But lately I have been making it with a new twist. I was reading a while back about how lemon is a perfect parring with greens, bitter greens especially. I wanted to give it a try with my favorite greens. I have been cooking them like this for a year now and it is fabulous.
I simply just slowly simmer the broccoli rabe until tender, then you add in garlic, chili flakes, and olive oil. Once the garlic is tender you add in lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. Toss it all with pasta and serve it with lots of freshly grated parmesan. It is a warm and slightly spicy dish with a nice bright finish from the lemons. There is only one thing that makes this whole dish better - Meyer Lemons. (They are not as harsh and a bit softer in its taste, but it is just as bright in flavor.)
So of course when I saw the broccoli rabe I knew I needed to make this meal. Who wouldn’t want a meal like this after a week away? it is one of those meals that makes you feel as good inside as it is tasty. To me, a meal worth coming home to and getting your everyday life back in order. Broccoli Rabe and Meyer Lemon Pasta is that good.
Broccoli Rabe and Meyer Lemon Pasta (serves 4)
*Note: You can easily substitute lemon if meyer lemon cannot be found.
1 bunch of broccoli rabe
3 meyer lemons, zested and juiced
5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 - 1 pound of pasta of choice
parmesan cheese for grating
First, trim the bottom end (at least a 1/2 inch) of your broccoli rabe. Wash it several times to be sure it is clean. Chop the remainder into 1 inch pieces. Place them in a large saute pan (it may be heaping, and that is okay) with about 1 1/2 cups of water. Place the pan over medium heat and heat until water begins to simmer and the broccoli rabe starts to wilt.
Next, place a large pot (6 - 8 quarts) of salted water over high heat and wait for it to boil.
Meanwhile, keep an eye on your broccoli rabe. You are looking for the majority of the water to simmer away while you keep stirring it. When there is only a trace of water left; add in your olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Place a lid on the pot for about 5 minutes and then remove, your garlic should start to become fragrant and tender. Season it with some sea salt to taste.
Finally, your large pot of water should be boiling. Cook your pasta according to the directions on its packaging. Once the pasta is cooking add the meyer lemon juice and zest to the broccoli rabe and stir is all together while gently simmering. When pasta is cooked drain it well and toss it together with the broccoli rabe serve with lots of parmesan cheese to grate fresh.