Welcome to Never Fail, a weekly column where we wax poetic about the recipes that never, ever let us down.
I’m good at half-things. Like cleaning out the closet but not dealing with the piles. Or the Reading/Writing section of the SATs but not the Math. Or making a side dish but not the whole meal. So when my better half (haha, get it?) is making chicken thighs for dinner, or pork chops, or penne alla vodka, I’m in charge of the sides. And all that’s a convoluted way of saying that these white beans with lemon and broccoli rabe are that side.
We’ve been really pushing the bean agenda at Bon Appétit lately and that’s for a reason, or three: cheap, healthy, delicious. In this recipe, we’re using two cans of cannellinis. Also called white kidney beans, they’re another list of three: creamy, buttery, possibly already in the back of your pantry. The other major players of this dish are broccoli rabe a.k.a. rapini (it’s NOT broccoli, gah) and an entire thinly sliced lemon that caramelizes a little and counters the bitter broc.
The minor, but not to be ignored, players are anchovies, garlic, red pepper flakes, and parmesan. Umami city. A little heat. And since those ingredients are typically already in my pasta-prolific pantry and fridge, all I need to pick up at the store to complete the recipe is the broccoli rabe. (Now picture me in line at the store with a basket full of things I definitely don’t need, plus broccoli rabe.)
The cooking process comes down to three throwing-stuff-in steps: First, throw in and cook the lemon, anchovies, and garlic in oil, 5 minutes-ish. Second, throw in broccoli rabe and cook, 5 minutes-ish. Third, throw in beans and water to simmer, 5 minutes-ish.
When it’s time to serve, hit it with cheese and red pepper flakes and fill half your plate. You did it! You’re halfway there.