Braising in a pool of olive oil can turn tough ingredients creamy and luxurious without any of your attention. Canned chickpeas turn buttery-soft, and broccoli rabe’s bitterness succumbs to an oil seasoned with garlic, rosemary, chile and fennel seeds. Speaking of that oil, it’s as much a reason to braise as the silky chickpeas and rabe themselves. Soak it all up with crusty bread, or ladle it over pasta, yogurt, feta or mozzarella. The underpinnings of this recipe — chickpeas, vegetables, olive oil and seasonings — also make it great to riff on. Consider simmering chickpeas and olive oil with carrots, harissa and black olives; cherry tomatoes, thyme and lemon slices; or potatoes, shallots and cumin seeds.
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 rosemary sprig
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon dried chile flakes
1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), woody stems trimmed
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and black pepper
Crusty bread, for serving
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, combine the oil, garlic, rosemary, fennel seeds and chile flakes. Cook until the mixture is fragrant and the garlic is golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat, then add the rabe and toss until coated in oil. Scatter the chickpeas around the rabe and stir to coat in oil. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Cover with a lid or foil and bake for about 40 minutes, until the chickpeas are soft and crispy in parts and the broccoli rabe is tender, but the stems are not mushy.
Let cool slightly. Before serving, remove the rosemary and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with crusty bread for mopping up the seasoned oil.