Spicy Broccoli Rabe with Chickpeas and Ricotta Cheese
Spicy Broccoli Rabe with Chickpeas and Ricotta Cheese Erin McDowell

Bread and jam. Bacon, lettuce and tomato. Peanut butter and a drizzle of chocolate sauce on a spoon (right?). You gotta love a perfect food pairing. Along those lines, a new love triangle recently grabbed our attention: spicy broccoli rabe mixed with starchy chickpeas and topped with a dollop of creamy fresh ricotta. It’s a vegetarian meal, but that didn’t stop our meat-loving friends from asking for seconds.

Makes 6 servings
Start to Finish: 45 minutes

Ingredients

1 bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed (see Finishing Touches, below)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1½ cups cooked chickpeas

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, or more to taste

Kosher salt

1 cup ricotta cheese

Directions

1. Blanch the broccoli rabe: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the broccoli rabe and cook until it just begins to become tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer the broccoli rabe from the pot to a bowl of ice water. Drain well and reserve.

2. In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and sauté until tender and heated through, 4 to 6 minutes. Toss in the chickpeas and season with lemon zest, lemon juice, red-pepper flakes and salt.

3. To serve, divide the broccoli rabe mixture evenly onto six plates, and top each with 3 to 4 tablespoons of ricotta cheese. Serve immediately.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • While this recipe calls for canned chickpeas, you can also opt to cook them yourself for more flavorful results. Soak the chickpeas in cool water for up to two days. Transfer them to a large pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, until the chickpeas are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  • While it's not necessary to peel broccoli rabe, trimming the lower third of the stem will reduce any bitterness and shorten the cooking time. You can use a vegetable peeler or even a paring knife.

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