Broccoli Rabe w/Polenta

Broccoli Rabe– a veggie that defies classification. Kind of like myself actually- a little bit hippie, a little bit diva, although depending on the context I might be a lot of either of those…More closely related to the turnip than broccoli, it’s a little bit like broccoli met turnip, took a whirl on the dance floor and ended up with some unique collaboration that no one knew how to classify. My kind of veggie. And how can you turn up your nose at something so glorious and enormous?!?- Notice mine is as big as my stovetop! And to top it off, nobody can decide if it’s native to China or the Mediterranean…. It’s called Rapini, Broccoli Rabe, Broccoli Raap or Raab….it all depends on the context, or perhaps the veggie’s mood….a woman of mystery if you ask me. Since I originally heard that this lovely specimen was native to Italy, I chose a traditionally Italian presentation, briefly sautéed with lots of garlic, olive oil and tomatoes, served over a creamy polenta.  If I see it next spring in my CSA bag, I’ll certainly make this again. It was gobbled up like there was no tomorrow, which is a good thing, given that we’ve had some funky meals lately in an effort to clean out the refrigerator for our upcoming adventure.

There are parts of the fridge that haven’t seen the light of day, or a sponge, for quite some time, and there’s no time like the present to do a little spring cleaning, right? What else are you going to do when the temperatures are in the basement and you don’t have a fireplace to sit in front of while enjoying Christmas music and Hot Toddies? Actually the real reason is that I hate to come home to a yucky house. (and I won’t leave the housesitter with a fridge full of nasty leftovers) I will be the first to confess publicly that I am not the world’s neatest person. I’m a creative artist whose creativity can’t be contained in the brain, and so it spills over.. But I do have enough of an organizational streak to make sure I have a nice clean house to come home to, and to start packing for a big adventure days in advance.

You can see here from this picture, that the Adventuresome Kitchen is hitting the road for the first time ever- to Paris!! Not only will I be celebrating a milestone birthday in the shadow of the Tour Eiffel, I will be blogging about all things gluten free! There is an idea in the allergy world, and a perception in the non-allergy world that travel and adventure are impossible if you’ve got serious dietary issues. Not so. More challenging, yes- but I really look at this as an opportunity to get a little creative, as well as dive into and experience cuisine on a new and deeper level. There are celiacs who live quite happily in Paris. And yes, some people can enjoy all that Paris has to offer and never eat a croissant- not that I won’t be trying to duplicate one gluten-free…. I’m working on it! In the meantime, in addition to being a little entertaining for you, I hope that this type of documentation becomes a resource and an inspiration for people with food allergies. The world is your oyster- you just have to know how to shuck it!

Sauteed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic & Tomatoes 

Serves 4-8

Ingredients

1 large broccoli rabe plant (about 6-8 cups)

1 bulb garlic, minced

3 tbs olive oil

1 32 oz container of stewed, chopped tomatoes (fresh is even better, but they’re now out of season)

Directions

Chop broccoli rabe- leaves and stems, discarding the thickest part of the stems.

In a sauté pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. When oil is hot, add the minced garlic. Stir for about 1 minute. When garlic is fragrant, add broccoli rabe stems. Saute for 2 minutes. Add broccoli rabe leaves and florets. Saute another minute. Add stewed tomatoes and heat through-about 1-2 minutes. Serve over creamy polenta.

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