Broccoli Rabe & Quinoa “Utica Greens”
I come from a little town about an hour or so away from Utica, NY where a popular dish called “Utica Greens” is often served on local restaurant menus. I should say local Italian restaurant menus and they will typically showcase it as their signature dish. It is traditionally made up of escarole, pancetta/prosciutto, hot peppers, onions, bread crumbs and cheese.
The greens that the dish refers to is escarole which are grown locally and is even celebrated with their own festival. While neither my husband and I are from Utica, or claim to be Utica Greens experts, we both have eaten them enough when dining out so we decided to take a stab at making our own.
Since we didn’t have any escarole in the fridge we chose to make this using broccoli rabe instead. Broccoli rabe is typically more bitter than escarole but when paired with the spicy ingredients of this dish it is much less noticable. We also decided to make it a bit healthier and swap the breadcrumbs for quinoa to give it an extra nutritional boost although we did keep the prosciutto, onions and cherry peppers to keep true to the flavors of the Utica Greens dish.
- 1 head of broccoli rabe, washed & ends trimmed
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 1 14.5 ounce can low sodium chicken broth
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 slice of prosciutto, 1/4 inch thick, diced
- 1/2 cup hot cherry peppers, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Make quinoa first by bringing chicken broth & quinoa to a boil in medium sauce pan. Once boilling, reduce to a simmer and cover, letting water absorb for about 15 mins. Remove and set aside.
- While quinoa is cooking, heat oil in a large pan and cook onion and garlic until no longer opaque. Add in prosciutto and cook for several more minutes.
- Add in cherry peppers and stir.
- Now add in quinoa, making sure to combine evenly with all the ingredients.
- Finally, add in broccoli rabe and let cook down for several minutes.
- Once cooked down and wilted, give one final stir to ensure it is evenly combined and plate.
- Escarole can obviously be used in place of broccoli rabe if you prefer to have a less bitter taste.
This makes a perfect side dish to be served with steak and pairs perfectly with a glass of Baco Noir!
Have you ever tried or heard of Utica Greens? What is the signature dish served where you live?