Broccoli Rabe (or broccoli di rape as I grew up calling it), is one of my favorite vegetables. It's assertive flavor pairs well with Italian sausage in pasta sauce or on its own next to roasted meats. I notice that the broccoli rabe that I get at the farmer's market is far superior to what is available in the supermarket. I find that supermarket rabe, no matter how "fresh," is often unpleasantly bitter. Rabe from the farmer's market—at least the one that I frequent—is consistently sweet with just a hint of bite, and full of delicious broccoli flavor, right down to the leaves.
You've probably noticed if you've been reading for a while that I like to roast my veggies. I do this for two main reasons: 1) It's a no fuss way to cook vegetables while I do something else. I don't need to tend them, I can just let them roast away in the oven until they are done. 2) I love the carmelization that occurs when you roast vegetables. I think it makes veggies taste just as good hot or at room temp. And, I guess, 3) I find that my kids prefer to eat veggies roasted as opposed to other preparations. They might turn up their noses at steamed green beans, but will gobble them up when they are roasted. I think they enjoy the crispy carmelized bits, too.
For this recipe, I took two bunches of broccoli rabe, trimmed it, and washed it. Then I put some diced bacon (about 2 strips) and a small diced onion into a roasting pan with a little olive oil and let it hang out in the oven while it preheated to 350º.
I then carefully removed the roasting pan, dumped in the broccoli rabe, some salt and pepper, and gave everything a toss. After about 10-15 minutes it should be fairly wilted. Give it a gentle toss, then let it roast about 5-7 minutes more. Be careful not to burn the delicate leaves.
Serves 4 as a side dish.