It was a case of mistaken identity. I bought some broccoli rabe at the farmers' market and decided to pull out my brand spanking-new copy of the Silver Spoon to see what I could do.
What a perfect choice, I thought, considering one of the greatest uses of that vegetable is with orecchiette with sausage. Surely, this definitive Italian volume would have other inspired dishes with the vegetable. But to my surprise, I couldn’t find it anywhere. Nope, even the orecchiette dish that I so loved used turnip greens instead of broccoli rabe. A little sleuthing on Wikipedia led me to the scientific name of Brassica rapa. And what would you know, the scientific name for broccoli rabe is Brassica rapa? Thinking I had just figured everything out, I decided that turnip greens were actually the same thing. That’s how I finally found this recipe.
Of course I was dead wrong. Turnip greens and broccoli rabe aren’t the same thing. But by that time, I didn’t much care. In fact, the original called for ham, too, but all I had was some locally made pepperoni. So basically, I changed nearly every crucial ingredient in this dish yet still made it out of the clear. The slightly bitter pull of the greens was balanced with spicy pepperoni, and all cooled by the breadcrumbs. It was a fortunate mistake.
- 1 large bunch broccoli rabe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 jalapeno, chopped
- 4 ounces pepperoni, cut into strips
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Toss in the broccoli rabe and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove and drain.
Pour the olive oil in a skillet and put the heat on medium. Add the whole garlic cloves and cook until lightly browned, discard.
Add the bread crumbs, pepperoni, and jalapeno. Cook for a couple minutes until aromatic.
Toss the broccoli rabe in the skillet and mix together. Serve up with a pinch of salt.