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Italian-style vegetables

perrin, Apr-25-06 20:05:09:
While in Rome recently, I was really impressed by the side vegetables (aka contorni).  I had chicory and broccoli rabe, both tasting rich and delicious with a kind of buttery quality to them.

Whenever I see recipes for Italian style vegetables, all they say is to sautee them in olive oil with garlic and some red pepper flakes.  That's just not working for me.  I end up with something stringy and flavorless compared to what I got in those restaurants.

Does anyone have a hint?  Do I need to blanch the vegetables first?  Use tons of olive oil?  Add some butter?
steveandsarah, Apr-25-06 22:30:28:
Blanching them first helps, I think.  Tons of olive oil never hurts.  You also might try chucking some anchovies into the oil and letting them disintegrate before adding the vegetables.
steveandsarah, Apr-29-06 23:55:35:
Here's a recipe from the Silver Spoon cookbook (supposedly the "Joy of Cooking" of Italy, recently translated to English):

2 1/4 pounds broccoli, cut into flowerets
3 ounces salted anchovies, heads removed, cleaned and filleted, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes and drained
3 Tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1/2 fresh chile, seeded and chopped

Cook the broccoli in salted, boiling water for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, chop the anchovies.  Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the anchovies and cook, mashing with a wooden spoon until they have almost completely disintegrated.  Remove and discard the garlic.  Drain the broccoli, add to the pan, mix well and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.  Serve immediately.
perrin, May-31-06 17:27:39:
There's something to that Silver Spoon.  The longer cooking time and the anchovies really work.  I found anchovy paste in a tube at my supermarket, which is surely heresy but made this really easy.  Thanks!


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