I see a lot of cookbooks — that’ll happen when you work for Food Network — and even though there’s a stack of new books on my desk threatening to topple over, I still get excited when I get a really good, new cookbook. The cookbooks that excite me are the ones filled with healthy, seasonal recipes, especially those with a lot of vegetable dishes because I don’t eat meat. Food writer, NY Times columnist and cookbook author Melissa Clark‘s book, Cook This Now was one that excited me. So much so that it made it home to my kitchen, and not the teetering, 4-foot cookbook pile on my desk.
The book is organized by month, and each month has 10 recipes using ingredients that are at their peak that month. The setup is helpful for obvious reason: it’s easy to figure out what’s freshest and what to shop for at farmers’ markets, but there was an unexpected bonus to the month-by-month organization. Usually when I get a great cookbook, I leaf through the whole thing, flagging dozens of recipes I must make, then can’t decide what to make first. When I cracked open Cook This Now, I jumped right to November. I was tempted by the Butternut Squash Risotto With Pistachios and Lemon, the Honey Whole Wheat Corn Bread and the Roasted Acorn Squash, Honey, Smoked Paprika, and Sage Salt, but last night just happened to get a big bunch of broccoli rabe in my CSA, so was eager to turn that into dinner.
Melissa’s Garlicky Broccoli Rabe is quick and easy — it’s ready in under 10 minutes — and can be eaten as a side dish or over pasta or polenta. Many people think broccoli rabe is bitter or tough, but it’s not when you cook it this way. The greens steam in the sauteed garlic and crushed red pepper and the result is a bowl of greens so tender and fresh-tasting that you’ll forget to be self-conscious of your garlic breath.
Below is the recipe as it’s printed in Cook This Now but when I made it, I used just one tablespoon of olive oil to keep it lighter.
Garlicky Broccoli Rabe
From COOK THIS NOW by Melissa Clark. Copyright © 2011,
Melissa Clark, Inc. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
Large pinch red pepper flakes
1 large bunch broccoli rabe, tough stems removed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the garlic and pepper flakes; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli rabe and salt and toss well. Cook 1 minute. Stir in 2 tablespoons water. Cover the pan and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. If necessary, cook, uncovered, to evaporate any excess water in the pan.
Other cookbooks I love:
Ellie Krieger’s Comfort Food Fix
- Root to Leaf Cookbook: Seasonal Cooking Straight from the Market
- Talking with Dana Angelo White, Author of First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers
- Want to Cook with Your Kids? Read Chef Jonathon Sawyer’s New Cookbook, Noodle Kids
- Simple Recipes for Joy: Chatting with Jivamukti’s Sharon Gannon