Years ago, I was with a group of friends talking about the dishes that our mothers made all the time and that became our idea of comfort food. One of the women said that her Italian-American mom made broccoli rabe and cooked it with lots of lemon and white beans.
We all quizzed her like crazy: Was this a dish her grandmother had made, too? (Yes!) Was it a weeknight dish? (Yes!) Did her mom make it for holidays? (Yes!)
We were so intrigued that something bitter, tart, and garlicky would be considered comfort food—the rest of us had been thinking about creamy, toasty, cheese-y things!
She told us how to make this broccoli rabe dish, convincing us that a mildly bitter green cooked in a skillet with hot oil would be something that we, too, would love. So I went home and made the dish, and I’ve been making it ever since.