My first experience with broccoli rabe was several years ago when I got some prepared dish of it from Whole Foods–and it was HORRIBLE! So bitter and too strong for my taste. Years later, when Fabe was working at Esposito’s, he brought home broccoli rabe provolone Sausage–a specialty of master butcher, Joey. If you’re going to have sausage: GET THIS ONE! Seriously it is everything delicious. Wow, this is the first time I’ve salivated over a meat product in a long time! lol
So this pasta recipe was inspired by a recipe on Vegetarian Times: Philly-Style Broccoli Raab, Provolone, and Portobello Sandwich. I saw that sandwich the other week and bookmarked in my mind: “MAKE THAT!”. Then I decided to eat vegan for the rest of the month and the cheese had to go. So, I adapted the recipe to make it fit the vegan diet.
Broccoli rabe will now be added to my shopping cart!
Salt and Pepper
1. Slice mushrooms and add to bowl with balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, chopped garlic and red pepper flakes. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.
2. Slice onion and begin to brown in sautee pan. Once browned and cooked down, add olive oil, salt and pepper, and broccoli rabe.
3. Put a lid of the sautee pan and allow the steam to cook the rabe. After a couple of minutes, mix the rabe and the onions together and sautee the rabe until it is brightly green and evidently cooked. Do NOT over cook the rabe or it will be horribly bitter! Once it is done, add to a large bowl that will house your pasta salad.
4. On the rabe skillet, at a medium heat, add the marinated mushrooms and let them cook out. The vinegar flavor can be strong and you want it to deepen the flavors of the mushrooms, not overpower the taste of the dish. About 5 minutes into cooking the mushrooms, add sliced sun-dried tomato, then a few minutes later I added fennel seeds. I let the mushrooms cook for about 10 minutes or more, adding pasta water about 3 times to help the mushrooms cook down and cook out the acidity of the vinegar. Adding the water also helps cook and hydrate the tomatoes so textures are even in the dish.
5. Boil water for pasta and cook to your liking. Add to the pasta dish (with rabe) when the pasta is done. Reserve the pasta water for mushrooms.
6. Taste mushrooms before taking off of the heat. Make sure the acidity level is appropriate.
7. Add mushrooms and tomatoes to the pasta and rabe. Mix together, and season to taste.
8. Enjoy room temperature, warm, or cold. Perfect make-ahead dish to take to work!
*You could certainly add sharp provolone, pecorino, or parmesan to this dish to add a nutty saltiness but it have strongly developed flavors without the cheese.