We defy you to tell us one thing that isn’t made better with a drizzle of brown butter. Can’t think of anything, can you? Exactly. Same thing happened to us. Especially when we experienced this broccoli rabe with balsamic brown butter.Renee Schettler Rossi

A white plate of broccoli rabe with balsamic brown butter being poured on top

Broccoli Rabe with Balsamic Brown Butter

5 / 3 votes
This broccoli rabe with balsamic brown butter is a quick and easy side dish made with tender broccoli rabe that is drizzled with a buttery balsamic sauce. Perfect for your weeknight repertoire.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories195 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time15 minutes


  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pound broccoli rabe, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Let the butter remain over the heat until the white solids sink to the bottom and turn a light brown and you no longer hear a sizzling sound, about 5 minutes. Carefully stir in the vinegar (it may splatter) and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Plunge the broccoli rabe in the boiling water and add the salt. Boil, uncovered, until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain quite well and then pat the broccoli rabe completely dry.
  • Dump the broccoli rabe in a serving dish, drizzle with the balsamic butter, and toss to coat. Season, if desired, with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.


Broccoli Rabe With Balsamic Brown Butter Variation

Try A Different Vinegar Or Citrus
The richness of the butter in this little number is cut with balsamic vinegar, although you could instead opt for various types of vinegars, such as sherry or herb vinegar or even lemon or other citrus juice.
Butter Up Any Vegetable You Want
Try the sauce over other vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, or kale.
Fresh Food Fast Cookbook

Adapted From

Fresh Food Fast

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 195 kcalCarbohydrates: 5 gProtein: 4 gFat: 19 gSaturated Fat: 11 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 5 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 48 mgSodium: 3531 mgPotassium: 242 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 2 gVitamin A: 3528 IUVitamin C: 23 mgCalcium: 133 mgIron: 3 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2004 Peter Berley. Photo © 2004 Quentin Bacon. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

If you’re hankering for a lovely, green, delicious side dish, this is it. It just cannot get simpler than this. All you do is melt some butter and wait until it is brown, add balsamic vinegar, swirl, and toss with broccoli rabe that has been cooked two minutes. The reward for a few minutes’ “effort” is browned butter deliciousness that gets caught up in all the crooks and crannies. Both balsamic and browned butter turn my crank, as does broccoli rabe, so this was a winner.

Broccoli rabe (or rapini as we call it) is a family favorite, and I’m always looking for new ways to prepare it. This recipe is hardly a recipe, it’s so simple, but the brown butter and balsamic are a delicious counterpoint to the broccoli rabe’s bitterness.

As the recipe says, be sure to drain the blanched vegetables well, otherwise your balsamic butter will be quite watery. I finished the dish with a healthy pinch of kosher salt and black pepper.

This is a very nice and easy way to enjoy broccoli rabe. It was done just right and the mild bitterness was offset by the rich tartness that the butter and balsamic gave to this recipe. If trying this vegetable for the first time, I would really recommend this method of preparation.

I did find that my butter “foamed” rather than gently melting as it was heating up. I had to swirl the pot somewhat to see when the solids achieved that nutty-brown color.

I don’t give many “10″s but this is a good one. For one, I LOVE brown butter. I just got back from Europe and have some really good balsamic to try, so what a great time for this recipe.

My two broccoli rabe bunches weighed in at about one pound, although this can be easily adjusted for as you dress the broccoli rabe. You can always add more vinaigrette, so be careful and don’t drown the vegetable.

Use caution to not overcook the broccoli rabe. It will continue to cook after you take it out of the water, so use the 2-minute mark as a pretty solid instruction to follow.

This was so good; tonight it was Brussels sprouts, and the balsamic brown butter was just as good there, too.

We make broccoli rabe several times a month. It’s one of our favorite vegetables. We always make it the same way with olive oil, garlic, and a spritz of lemon juice. This recipe produces a completely different experience and is now our new favorite way to prepare broccoli rabe. The brown butter imparts a lovely nutty flavor with the balsamic vinegar adding even more depth of flavor. I’m not sure how or why, but the broccoli rabe was quite a bit less bitter than when made with our usual preparation.

I found that medium-high heat caused the butter to splatter quite a bit, so I used a medium heat setting which worked just fine. The butter was browned correctly in just 3minutes. The broccoli rabe took 4 minutes to cook rather than the 2 minutes stated in the recipe.

After coming home from an exhausting day at work, the last thing I wanted to do was cook, especially at 12 am. But I got my act together and assembled this dish in no time flat. I used one bunch of baby broccoli (8 ounces) to feed my boyfriend and I, since I couldn’t get my hands on broccoli rabe. I simply halved the recipe and it was perfect.

I did have to cook the baby broccoli for about five minutes until it was tender. After I tossed the broccoli with the balsamic butter, we tasted it then decided it needed more seasoning and tossed it with a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. I’ll definitely be making this simple dish again and again in the future as a side to dinner.

If this recipe is any reflection of those in Fresh Food Fast, it would be worth investing in the cookbook–here is another great recipe that certainly fits the bill of fresh and fast! This is a terrific rendition, quick enough for weeknights and elegant and upscale enough for weekend entertaining.

Heed the note in step two that there may be splattering when the vinegar is stirred into the brown butter. Despite thinking I was mindfully stirring in the vinegar, I had a lot of splattering on the stovetop, on the backsplash, and on me. So while the broccoli rabe was boiling, I was cleaning and scrubbing, leaving me a bit aggravated when the final dish was complete. I was probably even a little bit predisposed to disliking it after the clean-up. Yet I’d do it all over again: the finished dish was a unanimous hit, with the fragrance richly appealing and the whole thing about the most addictive green vegetable dish I can imagine!

In addition to the vegetables listed, I think the butter could also be drizzled and tossed with any sort of greens, from spinach to kale and more. I’d be game to try any of the vinegar variations listed, but none jumps out at me as being a better combination of ingredients than the balsamic vinegar.

Another super-fast easy recipe for something your guests or family will love! Each of my bunches of broccoli rabe weighed about 10 ounces before trimming, so the four servings were large. This sauce is so good you will want to make enough to cover everything else on your plate.

Browning the butter is key. The sauce would go well on most any vegetable as well as most meats–perhaps a little over simple chicken or asparagus–and would make it a dish to remember. I served this with steak and mashed potatoes and we all wished we had more sauce to drizzle on them, too.

The smell of the browned butter and balsamic vinegar was really wonderful. My roommate walked into the apartment and said, “something smells really good.”

I made this recipe two times. The nuttiness of the brown butter really went nicely with the bitter broccoli rabe. The balsamic I used was aged about 18 years, so it was thick and sweet. Each time I made this, I thought that I should have drained the broccoli rabe a little longer, as I ended up having a lot of liquid in the bowl which diluted the dressing quite a bit.

Bitter greens and I should be better friends. I know that they want to improve my health, but I’d rather eat chocolate. That being said, this recipe was easy and delicious. There was nothing “bitter” about this finished dish. I would easily make this part of my regular side dish repertoire and even use this as a topping for crostini or as an omelet filling.

Really good! I eat a lot of broccoli rabe, so I am always looking for new ways to prepare it, and found that the richness of the butter and tang of the vinegar were an excellent complement to the broccoli’s bitterness. The cooking time for the broccoli was just right—it was tender but still had nice bite. And as an added bonus, the leftovers reheat well. The balsamic, incidentally, does splatter quite a bit, so proceed with caution.

If you find broccoli rabe too bitter a bitter green, this recipe might change your mind. The buttery balsamic dressing here helps cut the bitterness of the broccoli rabe pretty effectively, and it just plain tastes good.

I prefer broccoli rabe cut into smaller pieces for serving, which can be done after the greens are blanched and drained. I found that it took longer than 5 minutes to get the butter to the correct stage. This was a wonderful accompaniment to a plate of cheese stuffed pasta shells in tomato sauce.

We loved the balsamic butter “vinaigrette” on the broccoli rate. It elevated a somewhat bitter vegetable into something elegant and flavorful. Definitely company worthy and restaurant quality.

Using all the butter/balsamic sauce is not necessary. We found that about half of the mixture worked perfectly. Be sure to trim the ends of the broccoli rabe before blanching. The 2 minutes suggested is right on. And the timing for the butter to brown, at about 5 minutes, is spot on as well. Delicious.

All ingredients worked together very well. On a second try, I used white balsamic vinegar and a pinch of truffle powder and got a subtly different taste experience that I enjoyed a little more.

Broccoli rabe (or rapini as we call it) is a family favorite, and I’m always looking for new ways to prepare it. This recipe is hardly a recipe, it’s so simple, but the brown butter and balsamic are a delicious counterpoint to the broccoli rabe’s bitterness.

As the recipe says, be sure to drain the blanched veg well. Otherwise your balsamic butter will be quite watery. I also finished the dish with a healthy pinch of kosher salt and black pepper.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    this recipe is amazing. incredibly simple, fast, and flavorful. I had stop myself from licking the plate. plus it works just as well with green beans!

  2. I love broccoli rabe and this would make it even better! I just picked up a bunch of regular broccoli and am going to try it with this and maybe a little garlic. Thanks!