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Broccoli Rabe ala Robb

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I sautéed thin slices of leftover barbecue sausage with some garlic in a lot of olive oil and then chopped up this six-ounce bunch of broccoli rabe and tossed it with sausage and covered it. Then I mixed the sausage and greens with two cups of cooked macaroni and hit it with some parmesan. It was a wonderful supper, if you like strong-flavored greens and garlic in your pasta. Broccoli rabe has a wild flavor. It isn't really related to broccoli -- it's closer to the turnip family.

I have a lot of the stuff on my hands at the moment. I threw some three-year-old broccoli rabe seeds in my organic dirt a couple of weeks before Jim Sherman came over and helped me plant all the lettuce. It didn't sprout, so I forgot about it. Guess what's taken over the chard patch all of a sudden? I've got broccoli rabe bushes now.

There is much confusion in the taxonomy world about broccoli rabe (or raap or rapi). Everyone agrees it's not related to broccolini. But is the vegetable the Italians call rapini the same as the vegetable the Chinese call kai-lan? And did it originate in China or the Mediterranean? Who knows? But it is a very bitter green, which is why I like it so much.

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