Cime di Rapa e Fagioli | Broccoli Rabe and Cannellini Beans

This classic, hearty and healthy Italian peasant dish has just three ingredients – fresh, bitter broccoli rabe, smooth cannellini beans and garlic. This can be served as a primo piatto – a first dish, or start to the meal, or, as a contorni – a side dish. You can use dried cannellini beans for extra flavor, but I use canned beans as a shortcut so that you can enjoy this dish any time. It’s one of my favorites, and I hope you enjoy it too!

Cime di Rapa e Fagioli | Broccoli Rabe and Cannellini Beans

  • Servings: 4-6 people
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe
  • 1 19 oz. can cannellini beans
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, separated
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.* Set a large frying pan on another burner.
  2. Wash the broccoli rabe and pat dry. Trim the bottom, tough ends (about 2-3 inches from the bottom) and discard. Roughly chop into 2 inch chunks.
  3. Drain the cannellini beans and rinse. Set aside.
  4. When the water is boiling, add the broccoli rabe*. Add a large handful of salt, about a tablespoon and stir.
  5. Turn the heat under the saucepan to a medium high setting and add the oil. Allow it to heat, about a minute. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and saute until golden brown, about two minutes.
  6. Using a strainer or pair of tongs, remove the broccoli rabe from the boiling water and add it to the frying pan. Toss to coat in the oil.
  7. Add the beans and toss. Allow cook for 4-5 minutes. Add remaining olive oil and toss. Plate and enjoy immediately.

*Boiling the broccoli rabe helps to eliminate the bitter taste that broccoli rabe would otherwise have. If you prefer broccoli rabe to be a bit bitter, you can skip the step of boiling it.

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