Broccoli Rabe with Goat Cheese Onions, and Pine Nuts

Here's another recipe from Urban Italian. It's pretty classic in its preparation. Like Andrew Carmellini, I like my broccoli rabe to have a little crunch as opposed to the much softer, longer cooked way that you might find it prepared in a typical Italian household. Conveniently, this recipe calls for sweet onions, which were in the box this week as well and if you've got some of the Allegheny chevre from Firefly Farms on hand, this recipe will be a snap for you to throw together this week!

3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 bunch broccoli rabe
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Vidalia onion (or similar sweet onion), thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, julienned (I prefer sun-dried tomatoes that are not in oil. I keep them in a jar in my fridge and they are fine)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh goat cheese (the crumbly chevre)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil to blanch the broccoli rabe. Here's the broccoli rabe before blanching.

While the water is boiling, slow roast the pine nuts over very low heat in a dry pan until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Shake the pan regularly to avoid burning the nuts. Remove from the heat and reserve. A little note from me here...if you're going to the trouble to toast nuts, do a lot of them. Use what you need them keep the rest in a jar in your fridge. They keep beautifully and you'll love having them on hand to toss in salads, pasta etc. As an aside here...if there is one thing I consistently screwed up in the kitchen before I clued into this trick toasting nuts. Here's the trick...take them off the heat just as they are starting to turn the slightest bit golden and let them finish cooking in the hot pan off the heat, shaking them every now and then. Okay, back to the recipe.

Cut off the bottoms of the broccoli rabe stems and remove any large bruised leaves. Blanch the broccoli rabe for 1 minute, until the leaves have softened but the stems are still straight and hold a nice, firm texture. Remove to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. (Blanching helps the rabe to hold it's color. If you just saute it without blanching, it gets brown and crispy). Here's the rabe after blanching. Love that emerald green!

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the onion and saute, stirring steadily, until it's nice and soft and translucent. Add the chopped garlic and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Add the rabe, sun-dried tomatoes, and salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cook the mixture over high heat until the flavors come together, about 2 minutes.

Remove the mixture to a large serving bowl. Another note from me...at this point, it's vegan so if you've got a mix of folks at the table, plate up some without the cheese...here's what it looks like at this point.

If you're adding the cheese do so just before serving it so it doesn't get runny or melt completely from the heat of the broccoli rabe. Sprinkle the pine nuts over everything (I forgot to do that before taking the pictures) and serve. Serves 4