Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Potatoes

Sautéed broccoli rabe with potatoes is perfect cold weather comfort food that’s simple and healthy but tastes anything but simple and healthy. We especially love it alongside sausages.

Pieces of sauteed broccoli rabe and slices of seared potatoes in a brown oval dish on a green bench

Broccoli rapini, which is often called “raab” in English, is a slightly peppery green that’s often disparaged as too bitter. But cookbook author explains that the secret to cooking it is to boil the greens briefly before sautéing to rid them of their excessive bitterness and to tenderize the stalks. If the stalks are still crisp, she continues, they will remain bitter. So there you go. That’s the secret. Originally published May 15, 2011.Renee Schettler Rossi

What's The Difference Between Broccoli Rapini and Broccoli Raab?

Rapini. Raab. Rabe. Different names, same pungent, leafy green veggie. These easily confused names—each preceded by “broccoli”—are something of a misnomer given the robust plant is actually a brassica and, as such, more closely related to turnip and mustard greens than broccoli. [Editor’s Note: The lovely Julia della Croce was kind enough to let us know that “rapini” is the diminutive for Cima di Rapa or Broccoli di Rapa, the correct Italian terms for the vegetable.] And no, it’s not the same as sweet, mild-mannered, seemingly always-in-season broccolini, although we have a hunch you could substitute that for the rapini here to great effect. Whereas broccolini is in stores much of the year, rapini shows up at farmers’ markets for a short spell in early fall and then again come spring, just after ramps but before local asparagus. It’s diminutive yellow flowers are pretty hard to miss.

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Potatoes

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 30 M
  • 50 M
  • Serves 4
4.8/5 - 4 reviews
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Place the potatoes in a pot, add enough cold water to cover, and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart, about 20 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes and let drain. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, using a small, sharp knife or a vegetable peeler, peel the skin from the tough lower stalks of the rapini, which is to say, most of the bottom portion of the stalk. (If your rapini has super slender stalks, don’t bother peeling them.) Cut the stems crosswise into 1 1/2- to 3-inch lengths. Return the potato cooking water to a boil, adding a little additional water. When boiling, add the rapini along with the salt, cover partially, and simmer until the stalks are tender but not mushy, maybe 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks. Drain the greens, reserving a little of the cooking liquid. Set aside.

Pry the skin from the potatoes (it should come off easily with your fingertips) and cut each potato lengthwise into quarters, then cut each quarter crossways into slices about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick or so.

In a skillet or saucepan large enough to accommodate the potatoes and the greens, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until nicely softened but not colored, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the garlic to a bowl.

Raise the heat under the skillet or saucepan to medium-high, add the potatoes, and sauté until they are golden and crisp all over, about 12 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl or platter. Warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat, then add the rapini and the garlic cloves. Sauté until the greens are nicely coated with the olive oil and heated through, about 3 minutes; if the greens appear a little dry, add a spoonful or so of the reserved cooking water. Add to the potatoes and toss. Adjust for seasoning and serve immediately.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of this recipe. I like greens ok, finding some preparations more palatable than others. This one looked interesting enough that I wanted to try it out. I loved it! The garlicky flavor permeated the dish nicely and the crispy, creamy potatoes in combination with the tender rapini was excellent. I only have a few small complaints. I’m not sure what the ratio between the potatoes and greens should be, as the recipe wasn't very specific about either ingredient in terms of size or weight. My potatoes seemed to be on the small side, so I used 4 of them with my nice-sized bunch of rapini. When I make this again, I'll probably use a vegetable peeler to peel the tough stems, as I had a hard time with my small paring knife.

I loved this combination of meltingly soft broccoli rabe with crisp potatoes. It's easy to make and even easier to eat! I consumed great piles of it all by myself one night with a roasted chicken and again the next night with some sautéed sausage. It was the perfect accompaniment to both. I know I'll be making this again, perhaps with some lemon zest or red pepper flakes thrown in for added intrigue.


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    1. I’m so pleased to hear this Siracusano! I can’t wait to hear what you try next.

  1. This was good however, the potatoes did not become crispy. It may be because I made this for a large group but was still a hit.

    1. I’m so glad everyone enjoyed it, Michele. If you’re making a big batch, try cooking in batches so that the potatoes don’t get crowded.

  2. This dish is EXCELLENT!! How could I have been making broccoli rabe all these years and NEVER known to peel it??? This was my first time peeling it and I will never go back. Total game changer. Love this and plan to make it part of the standard repertoire. Thanks for this!

    1. Barbara, I’m so delighted you enjoyed the recipe. It’s one of my favorites, and one that, for some reason, never got the attention I feel it deserves. Perhaps your comment will change that!!

  3. I found this recipe when I was look for something different to do with potatoes. I didn’t have rapini so I made do with a regular bunch of spinach. This had the advantage of removing the step of boiling the greens. I also over-cooked the potatoes so they were a bit mushy before I sautéed them, causing the crispy bits to fall off in the pan while I was turning them. Nonetheless, it was absolutely superb and the perfect accompaniment to lamb chops. And they were equally superb with my medium boiled egg for breakfast this morning. I’ll make this one again and again.

    1. Allison, it sounds like you’ve created a whole new dish. And you’re living proof, like me, that even in the face of a goof up or two, food can still be delicious!

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