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Sauteed Broccoli Rabe with Olives and Pine Nuts

Broccoli rabe
Susan Russo for NPR /

Broccoli rabe, also known as broccoli raab, rapini and rape, is a popular Italian vegetable. Though it resembles slender, leafy broccoli, it is actually a relative of the turnip. Broccoli rabe's bold, slightly bitter flavor is complemented with salty olives and hot crushed red pepper in this recipe. Be sure to cook the broccoli rabe al dente, Italian for "to the tooth," which means it should be tender but still firm at the center.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

2 bunches broccoli rabe, stems trimmed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

10 Kalamata olives, chopped

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

Salt, to taste

To toast the pine nuts, place in a small dry skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute, or until golden brown. Shake the pan handle gently to ensure even toasting. Remove from heat.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Boil broccoli rabe for 2 minutes; drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water. Shocking the rabe will maintain its vivid green color and stop it from cooking. After a couple of minutes, drain the rabe in a colander.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and saute until it turns golden, about 2 minutes. Add the drained broccoli rabe, olives, crushed red pepper and salt. Saute about 5 minutes more, until al dente. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts before serving. Serve immediately.

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