All in the Technique

Although I enjoy many vegetables—particularly in summer—I steer clear of a few. One of those was broccoli rabe (also called rapini), a somewhat bitter green often featured in Southern Italian cooking.

On Sunday I decided to give it another shot. After all, a bitter green has to be healthy—right? I pulled a recipe from Good Housekeeping for Penne with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe. With only one link of Italian pork sausage in the entire dish, this entree provides only 12 grams of fat, with 4 grams of saturated fat, per serving.

Following the instructions, I began by washing the broccoli rabe well, trimming away the tough ends, cutting the rabe into 1-inch pieces, and then blanching it. The first—and last—time I cooked broccoli rabe, I sautéed it without blanching it first. I hoped blanching would mellow the green.

After removing the broccoli rabe from the pot, I boiled penne in the same water and sautéed slices of sausage and then finely chopped shallots and crushed garlic. Finally, I combined the vegetables, sausage, and penne in a skillet with some of the pasta cooking water, garlic, shallots, grated cheese, salt, and pepper.

To my surprise, the broccoli rabe wasn’t bitter and the flavors mingled well. Once again, this demonstrated that technique makes all the difference in cooking. To reduce the fat content even further, next time I’ll switch to Italian turkey sausage.

It’s nice to have another vegetable to add to our repertoire.

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