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La Belle Cuisine
Rao’s Four Basic Vegetables
Over 100 Years of
Italian Home Cooking
by Frank Pellegrino, 1998, Random House
“The preparation of Rao’s four standard vegetables is a specialty of
Sausto’s. She seems to be able to bring the deepest flavor from
Each of the following portions will be enough for
6 people, sautéed,
to add to pasta or sauces as required
in any recipe in this
Broccoli Rabe (Broccoli di Rape)
bunches broccoli rabe
any tough outer or damaged leaves. Cut of the stems and
the leaves into
large pieces (about 3 to 4 inches). Wash in a
with cold water.
Shake off excess water.
2. Place broccoli rabe in a deep saucepan with cold water to cover by
about 2 inches. Bring just to a simmer over high heat. As soon as
bubbles appear at the sides of the pan, remove it from the heat.
3. Drain cooking water. (Reserve it if you are going to combine the
broccoli rabe with pasta or are going to prepare a Rao’s recipe
4. Immediately place broccoli rabe in cold water to stop the cooking
process. When the broccoli rabe is cool, drain it well in a colander
and pat dry.
5. Cover with a damp cloth and refrigerate until ready to sauté or
pasta or sauces.
[Rao’s recipe for Garlic-and-Oil-Sautéed Vegetables
cabbage, lengthwise, into 6 pieces. Wash well in a sink filled
water. Shake dry.
2. Put cabbage in a large saucepan with cold water to cover by 2
bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and simmer
for 5 minutes.
3. Drain in a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking
process. Allow to drain well and pat dry.
4. Cover with a damp cloth and refrigerate until ready to sauté or
pasta or sauces.
any tough outer or damaged leaves from the escarole. Cut
the tough root
end and tear leaves into large pieces. Wash well
in a sink
filled with cold
water. Shake off excess water.
2. In a deep saucepan with cold water to cover by about 2 inches,
escarole for 5 minutes over high heat.
3. Remove from heat and drain in a colander. Immediately place the
cold water to cover to stop the cooking process. When
cool, drain well in a colander and pat dry.
4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to sauté or add to pasta.
head broccoli, approximately 2 pounds
the broccoli. Cut off florets into approximately 1-inch
2. In a large saucepan, with cold water to cover by about 2 inches,
broccoli over high heat for about 4 minutes or until water
broccoli is crisp-tender.
3. Drain into a colander and immediately rinse under cold water.
4. When broccoli is cold, pat dry.
5. Cover with a damp cloth and refrigerate until ready to sauté
flavored Olive Oil (recipe follows)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 recipe broccoli rabe, or Savoy cabbage,
or broccoli [see above]
Salt and pepper to taste
oil in a large, heavy sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic.
2. Stir in the vegetable and sauté for 3 minutes or until hot. Season
salt and pepper and serve.
Take care not to brown the garlic or vegetables will taste bitter.
fine-quality olive oil (such as Filippo Berio)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
oil in a small, heavy saucepan on medium-low heat. Add garlic
simmer until garlic is just beginning to brown. Remove and
Pour oil into a clean container and reserve, at room
flavored oil for frying and sautéing.
La Belle Cuisine
Featured Archive Recipes from Rao's:
Bistecca alla Pizzaiola
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
Pappardelle with Hot Sausage Sauce
Rao's "Sunday Gravy"
Recipes from the Neighborhood
Veal Chop Valdostano
Featured Archive Recipes:
Baked Fennel with Parmigiano-Reggiano
Sautéed Greens and Garlic
Savoy Cabbage with Pancetta and
Cabbage Braised with Riesling and Bacon
Index - Vegetable Recipe Archives
Index - Pasta Recipe Archives
Daily Recipe Index
Recipe Archives Index