Broccoli Raab with Caramelized Onions

Sauteed Broccoli Raab
Sauteed Broccoli Raab

This recipe, found at is the classic Italian way to prepare broccoli raab.  It’s also great served with Italian sausage and pasta.

Note that this recipe also includes the blanching steps, which is the key to removing much of the natural bitterness in broccoli raab.  Some people blanch their raab, some do not — so if your raab isn’t particularly bitter, or you like bitter greens, you can easily skip the blanching steps.

Olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced into slivers
1 large bunch of broccoli raab, rinsed and cut into 2″ long pieces
2-3 garlic cloves, sliced
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the onions, spread out in a thin layer.  Cook, stirring occasionally until softened and then lightly browned. (Tip: to speed up the caramelization process you can sprinkle a pinch of sugar over the onions).  If the onions start to dry out at all, lower the heat (you can add a little water to them too).  They should brown, but not get dried out.
  2. If blanching:  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  The onions take at least 15 minute to cook, so you’ll have time to get the water boiling.  Salt the water (about a tablespoon of salt for 3 quarts of water).
  3. If blanching:  Prepare an ice bath:  fill a large bowl half way with ice water.  Add the raab to the boiling water.  Blanch for 1-2 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to remove from the boiling water and put in the ice bath to stop the cooking.  Shocking the raab with ice water will also help keep the raab bright green colored.  Drain the ice water from the raab.  Use a clean towel to gently wring out the excess moisture from the raab.
  4. Once the onions are lightly browned, remove them from the pan to a bowl. Using the same pan, add another Tbsp of olive oil and heat the pan on high heat.  Add the chili flakes.  Once the chili flakes start to sizzle, add the garlic.  Once the garlic just starts to brown at the edges add the broccoli raab and the onions.  Toss the raab mixture so that it gets well coated with the olive oil.
  5. Cook on high heat until most of the moisture is gone, about 5 minutes if you blanched first, and minute or two longer if you skipped the blanching.

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