12.12.2006

Lunchbox: Broccoli Rabe, Cannellini and Chicken Sausage

Application status: DONE for Friday, minus the receipt of transcripts (slightly worrisome). Days until next due date: 27.

I haven't had broccoli rabe in ages, but got a major craving for it last week. So be it, I said, and went off in search of the rabe.
The only times I've had broccoli rabe was how my mother made it, and she got the idea from an Italian coworker who simply steamed it in the microwave and then sauteed it in uber-garlicked olive oil and finished it with fresh lemon juice. Anemia runs in my family, so we indulged any leafy green veggie ideas, even though the rabe seemed to differ vastly in bitterness depending on the batch.
Oddly enough, the dish I ended up going for never used broccoli rabe at all; it had escarole, but it was one of my mother's favorites as well. I guess in some senses that makes this comfort food, with all the home memories flooding back, and that was probably more what I really wanted. I blame the applications for my sudden overbearing nostalgia.

My mother's dish, which I believe but am not certain hails from Joy of Cooking, was an oriechette pasta dish, with crumbled pork sausage, cannellini and the escarole. To adapt it for the lunchbox, I nixed the pasta and focused on the broccoli rabe itself as the main component. I kept the cannellini, but switched to chicken sausage, and presto, homecooked hearty winter meal for the week, and it turned out to be exactly what I wanted.

a work in progress: beans and greens in a tupperware throne.

The broccoli rabe has a really minerally taste to it but this one isn't bitter - I don't know whether I can attribute this to my awesome cooking skills or whether it's the batch. This particular one was already washed, cut, and bagged - I'm slightly apprehensive about bagged vegs at the moment, given all the press this year, but this does make the whole task infinitely easier. The disadvantage is you then cannot cook the stems separately from the leaves, but it's not troubling me any. Crucial to this are the lemon juice and saltiness, both of which reduce the bitter taste of the broccoli rabe.

BROCCOLI RABE, CANNELLINI AND CHICKEN SAUSAGE

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 12-oz bags pre-washed and cut broccoli rabe
2 Tbsp lemon juice plus more as needed
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, well rinsed and drained
3/4 c reduced sodium low fat chicken broth
5 chicken sausages (12 oz total), any flavor, but I like garlicky or Italian-style ones for this
reduced-fat parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli rabe, as much as will fit in the pot at a time, stirring to wilt it down so you can add more - if you haven't got a large enough pot (I used a 5 qt sautuesse) just do it in batches, and add it all back to the pot once cooked.
Meanwhile, start the chicken sausages in a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Grill or brown well on all sides.
Sprinkle over the lemon juice and season well with salt or pepper, toss to combine. Pour in the chicken broth and add the beans to the pot, mix well. Let the mixture come to a simmer, reduce heat until at a gentle simmer, and cover the pot to let cook for just on three minutes (there may be some liquid left; add it in spoonfuls to your container to keep each portion moist when reheating for lunch). Carefully taste and adjust the lemon and pepper. Remove broccoli rabe mixture to a bowl to cool a bit.
For each portion: take the broccoli rabe mixture and sprinkle in some of the parmesan; mix well. Slice one of the chicken sausages and add to your container. Cover when reheating.

5 Comments:

Blogger Rachel said...

This sounds great!

10:41 AM  
Anonymous rachel said...

This sounds great!

10:41 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

This sounds great!

10:44 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

This sounds great!

10:47 AM  
Blogger melinda said...

wow, rachel really likes it! lol - what exactly is broccoli rabe? and if i walked into the regular grocery store would they have it out next to the regular broccoli?

3:25 PM  

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