Broccoli rabe was on sale at my supermarket this week, and it looked gorgeous so I bought a bunch without knowing what I’d make. To date, my favorite broccoli rabe recipe is from Lidia Bastianich, warm broccoli di rape and yukon gold potato salad. This chicken & pasta recipe is also a nice way to incorporate this healthy veggie, though it does not take top honors over Lidia’s!
The one misstep I made with this dish is I oversalted the pasta water. I normally do not add salt at all, but since you are cooking both the pasta and the broccoli rabe in the same water, I thought it ought to be seasoned. I didn’t measure the amount of kosher salt I put in, but since I am not really accustomed to any added salt I’d guess it was a tablespoon and it was totally overkill. Use care!
In terms of trimming the broccoli rabe: Last summer, the broccoli rabe from my CSA was almost all thick stems, with very few florets and leaves. So I followed Lidia’s method of prep, which involves peeling back the tough outer layer of the stem with a sharp paring knife. If I’d chopped off the stems and discarded them, I would have had nothing left to cook. The bunch of broccoli rabe I used this time was maybe 85% florets and leaves, 10% tender, thin stems, and 5% larger, tougher stems. I just wound up discarding the thick stems and rough chopping all the rest together. It was much easier to prepare that way than having to peel each stem! I’m guessing the difference is from the time of year — it is early in the season now, so the plants are young and tender. Perhaps as the spring and summer progress I’ll be seeing more leggy bunches of rabe.
This is a simple, easy recipe that didn’t wow me, but was healthy, yummy, and filling. I’d make it again.
Chicken & Broccoli Rabe with Whole Wheat Pasta
Adapted from Chicken and Broccoli Rabe With Fusilli Pasta
8 oz. whole wheat pasta, such as penne or fusilli
1 large bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed
1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, in bite-size pieces
1½ tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 c. vegetable stock
salt and pepper
Prepare your pasta according to the package directions, making sure to lightly salt the water.
While your pasta is cooking, rough chop your broccoli rabe into large, bite-sized pieces. You can also prep your chicken (rinse, trim, and cut into bite-sized pieces) at this time. Set both items aside separately.
When pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving the water it was cooked in, and set pasta aside. Return water to the pot over a medium-high flame.
Blanch broccoli rabe in the pasta water for 3-4 minutes, then drain and set aside.
In a large saute pain, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat, and cook chicken for 5 minutes, turning frequently so it is evenly browned. Add garlic, broccoli rabe, and a few grinds of pepper to the chicken, toss to combine.
Add wine and stock, stir, and simmer uncovered for 3 or 4 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Add cooked pasta, stir, and remove from heat.