The Brooklyn Italian Grandmother Is Back And Cooking

This is our Brooklyn Italian Grandmother back in the kitchen and digging into a pile of broccoli rabe.  Otherwise known as cooking with your fingers only up to the base of your rings.  We can dig that, can you?  What has happened to the world of broccoli rabe these days?  They steam it….good for you.  Yuch, it is tasteless!  They stir fry it.  O.K., but limp and mushy.  They saute it in water.  That’s called boiling it where we come from.  We asked our Brooklyn Italian Grandmother to come back into the kitchen and make it the good old-fashioned way so that we could share it with everyone.  This is a great side dish and is quick and easy.  When you are making an Italian dish, cook up some broccoli rabe and see what the family says.  While many people say it has a bitter taste, we have found that if you cook it up the Brooklyn way, the rabe is soft and delicious.  I’ve held the Brooklyn Italian Grandmother down and measured and forced her to tell me her recipe.   So let’s take what I’ve forced out of her and cook up some broccoli rabe and go jewelry shopping all in one post.


  • 2 large heads of broccoli rabe.  I found organic and super fresh.  We beg you to do the same.  Your body doesn’t need the chemicals. 
  • 3 tablespoons great olive oil
  • 7 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped.  More or less depending on how much you love garlic.  We adore it so use 7 cloves if you are truly a garlic lover.
  • 1 cup chicken stock, again go organic if you can
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, or more to flavor to your liking
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper or more to your liking
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more/less to taste.  We like it spicy.


Trim the stalks of the brocolli rabe and rinse under cool water.  Roughly chop garlic cloves.

  Rings always look better with a garlic scent to them.  Multiple bracelets support the wrist during the chopping process.

Over medium heat, heat the olive oil and then add the chopped garlic and sautee until garlic is lightly golden in color.

Add the chicken broth and the chicken bouillon cube until they are lightly heated.  Then add the cleaned and rinsed broccoli rabe.  Don’t be nervous if the rabe is stacked high in the skillet.  It will quickly wilt down to a reasonable amount.

  What takes away from beautiful green, organic and fresh rabes more than diamonds and solid gold?

Lightly place a skillet lid on top of the broccoli rabe and continue to adjust it while the rabe wilts down.

  Lid protects jewels from damage but also allows steam to lightly clean the gems.  We call this multi-tasking.

As the broccoli rabe wilts down during the cooking process, raise the lid and add a teaspoon of salt to flavor during cooking.  Place the lid back on the rabes and saute for about 10 minutes.  Lift lid and turn over the broccoli rabe so the bottom is now on the top and place the lid back on for another 10 minutes.  Continue cooking until rabes are al dente, meaning tender but they still possess a little chewiness to them.

   Diamonds are forever….sing it.

When tender, add another half a teaspoon of salt and the pepper or more to flavor the broccoli rabe to your liking.  Add the red pepper flakes to add a little heat.  If you like it hot, add more.  If you can’t take the heat, don’t add any red pepper flakes.  Use your own judgement. 

Come on…have you ever seen such a beautiful and exotic side dish to complement your favorite Italian dish?  Broccoli rabe is not for everyone, but it is for most people that we have served it to in the traditional Brooklyn Italian Grandmother way.  Who needs to light up their life when you can rabe up your life?  Just a little hint–some great bread is delicious when you use it to dip in and soak up the broth from the rabes.  And remember, it also is a great way to clean your jewelry in an organic sort of way.  Give it a try….you won’t be sorry.  What side dishes can you share on Acorns On Glen that would be great with Italian food? 

2 thoughts on “The Brooklyn Italian Grandmother Is Back And Cooking

  1. Excellent post. Thanks for sharing your grandmother. Loved the jewelry. In our family we have a Greek “princess” grandmother that wouldn’t be caught without at least 5 braclets and 3 – 5 rings! And, the food looked wonderful too.

    • Hi Teresa. Welcome to Acorns On Glen. Our Brooklyn Italian Grandmother needs to cook for us more often. We get to eat her food and we get a story for the blog. A good deal. Take care and come back and visit soon.

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