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Broccoli Rabe with Pancetta and Kalamata Olives

Broccoli Rabe with Pancetta and Kalamata Olives
Buy broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, rape and cima di broccoli, when it is young and tender. As the flowers and stems grow larger, they become more pungent and bitter. Look for this cabbage-family member in late fall through spring.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup coarsely ground dried bread crumbs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 lb. pancetta, finely diced
  • 3 bunches young, tender broccoli rabe, tough
      stems removed (about 2 1/2 lb. trimmed)
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and thinly sliced

Directions:

In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and toss constantly until lightly golden, 1 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Pour the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil into the fry pan and place over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, tossing often with tongs, until lightly golden and almost crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and cook, stirring often, until it wilts completely but is still bright green, 6 to 8 minutes.

Increase the heat to high and add the lemon juice, garlic and olives. Continue to cook, tossing constantly, until well mixed, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a warmed platter and sprinkle with the reserved bread crumbs. Serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration Series, Winter, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1997).