If you’ve ever had broccoli rabe, you know that it is unapologetically bitter. Bacon broccoli rabe is better! Because bacon makes everything better, right?
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I sat on this post for 7 months.
Yep, I came up with recipe back in July! But I had my reasons.
Y’see, I learned from my book, In Season by Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfield (get your copy here), that this is the best season for broccoli rabe. Late winter, early spring. I say “best” because the book stated that at this time these normally bitter greens are sweeter than any other time of year.
And you know what? They were right! My folks, who normally hate when I make broccoli rabe, decided to go for seconds.
If you or someone you know has experienced seriously bitter broccoli rabe, consult your food blogger to see if late-winter rapini is right for you. 😉
So, because I like to post seasonal recipes when the season is right, I played the long game.
And oh, my dears, I do believe it was worth it.
But what is broccoli rabe, or rapini?
If you don’t know, don’t worry! A lot of people have never heard of broccoli rabe. I didn’t learn about it until I was in my gourmet foods class in my junior year of high school!
I have always described broccoli rabe as broccoli’s bitter cousin. It’s different in the fact that the stalk is exponentially thinner and there are a lot more leaves than what you would find on a head of broccoli.
Broccoli rabe is not to be confused with broccolini or Chinese broccoli. Broccoli rabe is actually less related to broccoli and is more in the turnip family! Y’learn something new every day.
The awesome thing about broccoli rabe is that you can use all of the pieces to the plant. Use the stalks, the leaves, and the buds! Just make sure you cut off any hard, woody bits of stem before cooking. Broccoli rabe also has a ton of health benefits, such as being a great source of C, K, and A.
The downside to broccoli rabe is that you don’t really eat it raw. In fact, I have never seen a recipe where they have raw broccoli rabe in it! In my internet research, I didn’t find any sinister reason why. It was more the fact that it’s really bitter. And for someone who has, I’d say, an above-average bitter tolerance, I still prefer it sautéed over raw.
With that being said, I had to come up with a way to prepare it.
Enter the one pan bacon broccoli rabe!
This idea came to me in a rather interesting conversation with my father.
“Do you like broccoli rabe?” I asked him.
He puckered his face. “No, not really. Maybe if you cooked it with bacon.”
I had a lightbulb moment, and the challenge was accepted.
And thus, the one pan bacon broccoli rabe was born!
I made this recipe to be a simple way to make broccoli rabe. Cook bacon, then cook broccoli rabe. It’s got 4 ingredients, easily made while you’re preparing the rest of dinner. Could I make this any more simple??
Do you have a favorite recipe for broccoli rabe? Have you seen a recipe that calls for raw broccoli rabe?? Leave it in the comments down below!