Monday, October 24, 2011

What Do You Call That Italian Broccoli???

Raab, Rapa, Rapine, Rappi, Rappone, Broccoli de Rabe.  Which ever name you prefer it all comes down to the same thing...deliciousness.  Albeit it is an acquired taste of mild bitterness and garlic goodness that I find irresistible.  

Broccoli raab was not always my favorite leafy selection growing up.  When my Nana would make it for my Pop she would say "Toni Ann try it it isn't bitter at all" as she walked toward me with a big steamy forkful of the stuff.  I would turn my nose up each time but forcefully swallow it just not to disappoint her.  But when your say 8 years old your palate for broccoli raab has not developed but when you realize this leafy, flowery, garlicky bite tastes so good with some fresh Italian bread and a slice of sharp provolone your whole world changes.   
I learned how to make broccoli raab from watching my Nana.  It was an all day long production which began in the early morning.  She would stand at the sink and soak it, wring it out, strip the leaves from the stems taking care to save the stems which she later carefully peeled and added to the salad.  Once this part of the preparation was over she would fire up the stove, add the garlic and olive oil and in went the raab.  Overflowing from the pot she would smash it in and cover it tight.  After what seemed to be a sea of green leaves in the pot she would uncover it to find it all shrunk down.  She would then repeat the process for the other 15 heads she had to prepare.  

This is what I knew and this is how I always prepared my broccoli raab until I decided one day I want to try something different...I want to roast my broccoli raab.  I love to roast vegetables so I figured this might enhance the flavor.  Well not only does it enhance the flavor but it takes the broccoli raab to another level of love.  Some of the leaves get crispy and crunchy while some of the leaves get soft and tender. The garlic is so pronounced and the olive oil coats it perfectly.  One bite and my taste buds crave more and then I cannot decide how to eat favorite is the classic broccoli raab sandwich but I also enjoy it in pasta and just out of the Tupperware for that matter.  How ever you like your pronounce your name for broccoli raab and how ever you might like to enjoy it give it a little change and try this recipe.  

Roasted Broccoli Raab

2 Large Heads Broccoli Raab 
8 Cloves of Garlic (sliced thin)
Olive Oil 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 
Rinse and dry the top of the broccoli raab 
Carefully cut the broccoli raab above the twist tie and discard the bottom stems 
Separate the broccoli raab evenly among two non-stick cookie sheets
Sprinkle the garlic over the two pans of broccoli raab 
Season with salt/pepper 
Coat with olive oil and toss with your hands 
Place in oven for 15 minutes 
Remove from oven and re-season with a pinch of salt and toss 
Allow it to cool and transfer to a bowl for serving 

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