A friends "family style" dinner recently triggered me to attempt to make broccoli rabe for the first time. I always think of my Italian grandmother saying, in her very Italian way, "brocclirabe" and called her up for her cooking tips. The second batch came out better, more crisp and retaining that beautiful bright green color, but both still had that delicious garlicky flavor I recognize from our family gatherings. Here's the very simple recipe, courtesy of Grandma Bellando.
After thoroughly washing broccoli rabe, let soak in cold water for about ten minutes. Heat a frying pan with olive oil, a bunch of chopped garlic (I used about 5 cloves) and a few shakes of crushed red pepper. Allow the oil mixture heats at a low temperature, covered. Remove broccoli rabe from water and snip off the very ends, and cut the stalks into edible pieces, keeping the stalk. Once the oil is heated, quickly add in as much of the broccoli rabe as you can fit and cover. After about a minute, pour in about a half cup of water to steam the rabe with the flavors of the oil. Every 30 seconds open and mix around with tongs to make sure they are cooking evenly. Once the rabe is cooked, tender, or "al dente," take the top off and squeeze half a fresh lemon over the pan and add salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!
*This process can be done a few times depending on the size of your pan, and the quantity of broccoli rabe you are making.