Monday, April 11, 2011

Broccoli Rabe over Couscous

I have been on a major broccoli rabe kick lately.  Leafier that broccoli but more substantial than most greens, this vegetable is lovely as the side or feature of any meal.

Broccoli rabe can have a tendency towards bitterness.  I often find that this can add to a dish and is a welcome variance from the usual flavors, but occasionally it can overwhelm.  I recommend looking for younger broccoli rabe when you can.  Look for smaller leaves and especially smaller crowns.  It may be my imagination, but using it quickly rather than letting it linger in the crisper drawer also seems to help.  Lastly, parboiling is suggested.

Here I serve it in a simple, healthy preparation over whole wheat couscous with some tomatoes I had canned last summer.  This makes two servings.

- 1 c. whole wheat couscous
- 1 c. + 1/4 c. chicken broth, vegetable broth, or salted water
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 c. chopped tomatoes with juices (fresh or good quality canned)
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe
- Salt and pepper

- Set a large pot of water on the stove to bring to a boil.
- In a large pan, add a drizzle of olive oil and the garlic to brown.
- Add the tomatoes, with all of their seeds and juices, and bring to a low simmer.  If you are using fresh tomatoes, simmer for 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked and soft.  There should be a nice pool of liquid:  optionally add 1/4 c. broth if it seems dry.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- When the water is boiling, add the broccoli rabe, stems trimmed, and cook for about three minutes.
- Transfer the broccoli rabe to the pan with the tomatoes, adding an extra dash of salt, and continue to simmer.
- Bring 1 c. of broth or water to boil with the lemon juice (the microwave is useful here) and pour it over the couscous in a bowl.  Cover and let sit five minutes.
- Divide the couscous between two plates and make a large well in the center.
- Spoon tomatoes into each well and place the broccoli rabe on top.  Pour the juices over the vegetables.


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