This is an old Italian favorite. And here's what we'll need:
1 bunch of broccoli rabe
2-3 cloves of garlic
whole wheat thin spaghetti
extra virgin olive oil, first press
crushed red pepper
Optional: grated cheese and fresh ground pepper
Colander, skillet, chef's knife or santoku, tongs and wooden spoon.
Step 1: Prep
We're going to prep our veggies. This can all be done in advance and we can make the meal later...
Cut the broccoli rabe stems to just where the leaves start or it gets thin. We don't want any woody stems. Discard any yellowing or wilted leaves. We'll wash the broccoli rabe before we cook it.
Peel the garlic, careful not to crush it. Cut into thin slices.
Put the broccoli rabe in a large Tupperware or similar container with a couple sheets of paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. The sliced garlic can go into a small ziplock bag. Be sure to press all the air out of the bag.
Step 2: Getting Cooking
Wash the broccoli rabe in a colander. Drain and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Any excess water will cause the hot oil to spatter, and we don't want to get burned.
Fill a large pot half full with water. Add a few dashes of salt and a couple tablespoons of olive oil to the water. The salt helps lower the boiling temp, so the water will come to a boil sooner, while the oil will help keep the pasta from sticking. They both add flavor to the pasta.
Pour enough olive oil into the skillet to thoroughly coat it and then some. After we cook the broccoli rabe there should still be enough oil for the sauce. If there's not enough oil left when the rabe is almost done, add some more.
Heat on medium. Check that the oil is hot enough by flicking a few drops of water from your fingers. If it sizzles it's ready. Add the sliced garlic.
Step 3: Bring on the Rabe
Don't let the garlic brown. Add the rabe until it fills the skillet. It looks like a lot now, but it will cook down. Use tongs to flip the rabe periodically and mix with the spoon, so that it all has a chance to cook in the olive oil.
Now that it has begun to cook down sprinkle crushed pepper and Cajun spices on top. The more you put the spicier it gets, so adjust according to taste.
When the broccoli rabe has all cooked down and is still a bit crisp you're done. You don't want it to cook so far that it's soft.
When the past is still slightly hard in the middle it's done. Drain the pasta, put some in a bowl and top with the broccoli rabe, oil and all. You can add cheese and fresh ground pepper if you want, but it's not necessary. Enjoy! And if you like it, let me know!