Some Greenery: Broccoli Rabe with Mozzarella Crema

Mario Batali wants you to eat more vegetables.

His latest cookbook, Molto Gusto, includes some simple pastas and the thin-crusted pizzas he serves at Otto in Greenwich Village, but a huge portion of the book is devoted to veggies: a rainbow of antipasti, gorgeous salads, and bruschetta piled with eggplant, or artichokes, or cabbage. (Or lardo. What, you don’t consider that a vegetable?) They’re mostly simple preparations, adding a little richness to the fresh produce, but not masking the essential flavors of good, in-season stuff. I received a review copy of the book and definitely plan to cook my way through the summer market with these recipes in mind.

I started with this broccoli rabe recipe because the dressing was so tempting: fresh mozzarella, whirred or mashed with its salty brine and a bit of grassy olive oil. Mario suggests you mash the mozz with a whisk, which did not work for me, but a little food processor or immersion blender action is just the ticket. I doubled the crema part of the recipe, though you could follow the newly-skinny Mario’s lead and halve what I’ve listed below.

It’s a good treatment to have in your back pocket no matter what greens are at the market (or in your CSA box)–I’m sure it would work brilliantly tossed with sauteed dinosaur kale or chard, a mix of beet greens, spinach, purslane, and whatever else you’ve got. If you have a handful of cherry tomatoes to add, feel free.

Broccoli Rabe with Mozzarella Crema
adapted from Molto Gusto by Mario Batali
serves 6 along with other antipasti

Kosher salt
2 pounds broccoli rabe, stems trimmed
6 ounces very fresh mozzarella with some of its brine
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Bring  a large pot of water to boil and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Add the broccoli rabe and blanch until just cooked but still vivid green, 3-5 minutes. Drain in a colander and shock with cold water to stop the cooking.

Coarsely chop the broccoli rabe, place in a medium serving bowl.

Mash the mozzarella (or cut into small pieces) in a large bowl, mini food processor, or a container you can safely use an immersion blender in. Add 4 tablespoons reserved brine (or warm water plus a sprinkle of salt). Mash with a fork or blend with food processor or immersion blender. Slowly add the olive oil, blending until emulsified and creamy. Top broccoli rabe with mozzarella crema, toss, and serve, adding additional salt and pepper to taste.

In vegetables, vegetarian

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