Once again the secrets are simple ones but make all the difference. Carmine shares his family’s broccoli rabe secrets. 

Broccoli Rabe with MV Sea Salt
Serves 2
Let’s clear up a few things right away. Old world Italian food is peasant food. Gourmet Italian food is International cuisine. They’re both great but this is a peasant food recipe. There will be no chicken stock or sausage. We’re going to add Martha’s Vineyard sea salt to the recipe to go MORE peasant not gourmet. Sorry, but my ancestors dried salt from the sea before it was ever mined.
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
359 calories
24 g
0 g
28 g
4 g
4 g
182 g
86 g
1 g
0 g
23 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 359
Calories from Fat 244
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 28g
Saturated Fat 4g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 20g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 86mg
Total Carbohydrates 24g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 1g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. Broccoli rabe (one bunch, leave the wire wrapping on for now please)
  2. 4 cloves fresh garlic cleaned and SLICED THICK
  3. MV sea salt
  4. Coarse black pepper
  5. Crushed red pepper flakes
  6. ¼ cup Olive oil (not the green extra virgin kind, we’re fryin’ here)
  7. Splash of water
  1. This recipe uses one bunch of rabe, if you use two you’ll need to adjust your pan size accordingly. Your pan will NOT be a fry pan.
  2. So for this recipe of one bunch use a 3 quart saucepan, 2 quart if you don’t have a 3 quart.
  3. If you’re using more than one bunch of rabe go for the stockpot (your pasta pan). Get the lid too.
  1. Slotted kitchen spoon
  2. Cooking tongs
  3. Have these tools ready, you don't want to be scrambling for them later.
  1. Stove the pan, turn the heat to medium-high. In one minute add the olive oil.
  2. In 30 seconds add the sliced garlic.
  3. Fry the garlic. Don’t burn it. Pull it off the heat if you have to. Tip the pan so you’re boiling in oil. When it’s browned use the slotted spoon to remove the garlic from the oil. Pull the pan off the heat. Throw the garlic in the sink. That’s right. Throw it away. We’re seasoning the oil. No giant chunks of garlic in the rabe for grandpa. That was secret number 1.
  4. Wash the bunch of rabe and shake off excess water. It’s still wrapped in the wire correct? Good. Lay the bunch of rabe on a cutting board. We are going to cut the fat stems off the rabe and where you cut it is up to you. If you don’t cut enough off you’re going to have too many, coarse, tough stems. Cut too much you’re going to be hungry and wasting money. Here we go with the process…
  5. Put the pan with the seasoned olive oil back on the medium-high heat. Assuming you are right-handed (Lefty’s, switch it) point the stems to the left, grab the good side with your left hand. Grab the whole thing because we want it to STAY IN A BUNCH. Figure out where you want to make you cut. Really, you gotta cut at least two inches of stem off. Make the cut. Keep the rabe in a bunch and STAND IT UP IN THE SAUCEPAN SO THE STEMS ARE IN THE OIL. Secret number two. We’re going to cook the stems a bit more than the rest of the rabe. Clever aye?
  6. Add the spices. All of this is to taste especially when it comes to these spices. For me, it’s about 1/8 teaspoon each, coarse pepper (I’m using a mill), and crushed red pepper.
  7. Fry the rabe standing up for about two minutes. After two minutes, use the cooking tongs to toss the rabe. Fry and toss for up to five minutes. This is secret number 3. GREAT BROCCOLI RABE IS FRIED. We Italians stole this from the Asians too.
  8. The only cooking ingredient left is water. Again, this is totally up to you. Soupy rabe and straight oily rabe are both authentic Italian. If you’re going to be adding this rabe to another dish, pasta for example, you probably shouldn’t add any water. If you choose to add water, add about ¼ cup, that’s what I do.
  9. Bring it up to a simmer, approximately one minute. Turn the head off, cover and let it sit for three more minutes and it’s done. Plate it or move it to a storage container. That’s secret number 4. Your rabe needs to stay bright green and firm to impress your guests.
  10. And here is secret number 5. Look at it. She’s beautiful I know. But you may have too many stems, or just a few really big ones. Well do what grandma did. Go get your big ole cooking sheers and snip, snip, snip. You can make the medium sized stems palatable by just making them smaller and remove the really big ones (and eat’m yourself right there over the sink).
  11. Finally, finish with MV Sea Salt, just before it goes in your mouth.
  1. Broccolini vs. Broccoli Rabe vs. Rapini (I looked it up)
  2. Broccolini is NOT the same as baby broccoli, though it may look like it. It’s actually a cross between regular broccoli and Chinese broccoli with long stems, larger florets, and less leaves. It has a sweeter taste that’s more similar to regular broccoli.
  3. Broccoli Rabe is in the same family as turnips, which explains why the leaves look so similar to turnip or mustard greens. It has long stems, smaller florets than broccolini, and larger leaves (all of which are edible). The flavor is pleasantly bitter.
  4. Rapini and broccoli rabe are not the same vegetable but are very close cousins. In most grocery stores, the names are used interchangeably because the flavor is nearly the same.
  5. Source: http://noshon.it/tips/vegetables-broccolini-broccoli-rabe-rapini/
Martha's Vineyard Sea Salt https://www.mvseasalt.com/