Mostly meatless meal

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I picked up some broccoli rabe at Zeytinia over the weekend and needed to do something with it, and soon. A bulb of fennel was keeping the rabe company in the fridge, so I started formulating a couple of recipes. Upon doing a little research, I realized most of the heavy lifting had already been done by better cooks than I (though I was mostly on the right track), so tonight’s dinner came together quickly and turned out to be awfully good.

The beans you see above were a riff on a recipe in Super Natural Cooking, by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks. It’s the first thing I’ve made from the cookbook, but the pictures alone are worth the price of admission. Wow. She’s so passionate about food, healthy cooking, and communicating it beautifully to her readers. If you can’t tell, I have a bit of a blog-crush.

Anyway, I made a few substitutions based on what we had in the house, but it turned out great, anyway. I’d probably go ahead and sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil before adding the beans next time, but otherwise would follow the recipe to the letter.

To go with the beans, I roasted some fennel wedges with prosciutto, Parmeggiano-Reggiano, and butter, then spritzed the bubbling mass with a little lemon juice. The recipe seems to be pretty common, but I’ll give credit to Lidia Bastianich, one of the authors I saw online and whose show I absolutely adore.

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recipes after the jump

Crispy Beans with Greens, adapted from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson

Because I don’t want to give anything away, I’m only going to give you my version of this recipe. For a more complete and rewarding experience, buy the book.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 handfuls broccoli rabe, coarsely chopped
salt, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
lemon juice, to taste

In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high flame until it shimmers. Sauté onion and garlic until soft. Add beans in one layer and cook without disturbing for a couple of minutes, until beans begin to brown and crisp. Flip beans and cook on the other side until crisp.

Add broccoli rabe (and more olive oil, if things look a little dry) and cook, stirring occasionally, until greens have wilted. Add red pepper flakes and lemon juice. It isn’t necessary to serve this immediately, as I found the flavors meld after sitting for a little while.

Roasted Fennel with Prosciutto

2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and cut into 6 wedges each
3 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced and chopped
grated Parmeggiano-Reggiano, as much as your conscience will allow
butter, for greasing baking dish and dotting fennel before baking
lemon juice, to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Set large pot of water to boil. Add fennel wedges, bring back to boil, and lower heat to gently simmer until fennel is soft, 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, butter a small baking dish and set aside. When fennel has cooked through, drain well, and assemble in one layer in baking dish. Top with chopped prosciutto, then cheese. Dot with butter and bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese has melted and turned golden.

Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve immediately.

3 Replies to “Mostly meatless meal”

  1. ok – i’m doing the fennel as we speak – but no butter and using pancetta and a little bit of breadcrumbs on top. this was perfect becaue i had used 2 fennel tops on tuesday and the bulbs wrein the fridge and i was clueless. i will report back but i know it’s going to be wonderful… thanks for this one. i’ll probably post it tomorow unless it gets burnt!

  2. That’s great — I meant to post an update this afternoon to say I plan to add breadcrumbs to the topping next time! Please do post and give your review! I’m still drooling over the three pastas you made for your dinner party.

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