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Braised Broccoli Rabe Grilled Cheese

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If ever there was a virtuous grilled cheese this would be it. Something darn near magical happens when you gently and slowly braise broccoli rabe. The magic doesn’t come in the appearance but rather in the soft, nearly creamy texture and subtle bitterness that is offset with a bit of heat from chili flakes and a bright squeeze of lemon. Blended with sharp cheddar and capped with buttered and grilled bread you have a sandwich that is sure to please.

Recipe by Ashley Rodriguez
Ashley is the author of Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship and Not Without Salt, which was named the “Best Cooking Blog of 2013” by Saveur.

Serves: 4
Prep: 1 hr
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 1 hr 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Pinch chili flakes
  • 1 Bunch broccoli rabe, bottom 2-inches cut off, washed
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 slices of good bread
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar
  • Soft butter, Lemon

Directions

1. Sauté the garlic and chili flakes in the olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet or dutch oven until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and sauté until just starting to color, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Add 1/2 cup water to the pot, cover, and gently simmer for 1 hour. Give the broccoli rabe a stir a few times throughout the process. If the pan is dry add just a bit of water to keep the broccoli rabe from scorching.

2. After an hour the broccoli rabe will be very tender and slumped. Finish with just a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Braised broccoli rabe

3. Butter one side of each slice of bread.

4. Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add four slices of bread (or two at a time if that’s what fits in the pan) butter side down and top the bread with 1/4 of the broccoli rabe. On top of that add roughly 1/2 cup grated cheese. Top with another slice of bread, this time butter side up.

Broccoli rabe grilled cheese in pan

5. Grill until golden and the cheese has melted, about 3 minutes per side. Give the sandwich a gentle press with a spatula to compress the sandwich so the broccoli rabe and cheese really meld together. Serve immediately.

Broccoli Rabe grilled cheese

Get the scoop on Broccoli Rabe: recipes, health benefits, & nutrition information. Learn more

Broccoli Rabe grilled cheese

Broccoli Rabe grilled cheese