Some people remember sights and sounds. I think I fall into the taste category. I remember food. A very fond memory is from Artu, a restaurant in Boston’s North End. I don’t remember exactly when or why we were there, but I remember the white beans and garlicky broccoli rabe on grilled bread very well!
I recreated it this past weekend, and it lived up to the memory.
Large can of cannellini beans, well rinsed and drained
bunch of broccoli rabe, tough stems removed, cleaned and chopped into bite sized pieces
3-4 cloves garlic
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
Long loaf of crusty bread
1. Film a pan with olive oil. Saute about half of a chopped onion and a couple of cloves of minced garlic until soft. Season with salt, pepper and a shake of red pepper flakes.
2. Add the broccoli rabe ( in batches if necessary) until it’s tender and cooked through. Check for seasoning. Set aside.
3. Same sauté pan. Add more olive oil, the other half of onion, finely chopped, and a couple of cloves of minced garlic. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
4 Once the onion and garlic have softened, add the beans. Smash the beans with a wooden spoon as you’re cooking the mixture. You’ll want to end up with a lumpy paste. Tastes better than it looks! Check for seasoning.
5. Slice the bread lengthwise, brush with olive oil and grill until really toasty. Slice into individual pieces.
6. Set up a tray so people can create their own. Non-broccoli rabe people (I don’t personally understand them, but I know they exist) will be happy with just the beans on grilled bread.
You can make the beans and broccoli rabe ahead of time and warm them up in a microwave when you’re ready to serve them. All you have to do at the last minute is grill the bread.