A Vegetarian Snack That's So Worth The Effort

Crostini1Photo: Courtesy of Food52.
Food52 helps people become better, smarter, happier cooks. Food52 was named 2012 Publication of the Year by the James Beard Foundation and won Best Culinary Website at the 2013 IACP awards.
Are you looking for tips to make your workplace more enjoyable? Or even just bearable? Or just more super fun than it already is? Then I suggest instituting Friday cocktail hour. This is not terribly hard. All you do is stash away a few bottles of booze and wine for the appropriate time, keep ice at the ready, and lay out some snacks with all of it around 5 p.m. — and watch your colleagues become instantly more fun.
Next time we do this in my office, I will be making roasted broccoli rabe, sweet potato & ricotta crostini. This is the first time I have ever roasted broccoli rabe, and I have to say, it was exciting, especially the part about not drying it totally after it's washed, because I am lazy like that. Of course you will begin your sweet potatoes at the same time. Yes, you can leave out the chili if you so choose, but I do not choose.
This is divine at any temperature but is best warm. Serve with wine, and conversation that does not have to do with the yield curve.
Roasted Broccoli Rabe, Sweet Potato & Ricotta Crostini
Makes 8 crostini
1 bunch broccoli rabe with thick, tough lower ends of stalks removed (this often requires cutting off a good three inches or so)
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup olive oil, plus additional for roasting vegetables
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 leafy sprigs of rosemary (each about 6 inches long)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/2 to 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
8 thin slices of good, crusty bread
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Rinse the broccoli rabe but leave some water clinging to the leaves. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the rabe with olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper to taste. Use enough olive oil to uniformly coat the leaves and stems. Lay the broccoli rabe out in even layer, and roast for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the rabe is tender and the leaves are crispy and lightly charred around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet. (You don’t want to stack the broccoli rabe while it’s still hot because it’ll lose its crisp, papery texture.) Coarsely chop the broccoli rabe into bite-size pieces.
On another rimmed baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Distribute the sweet potatoes in an even layer. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes. (You can start roasting your sweet potatoes with the broccoli rabe, then after removing the rabe, lower the temperature to 400 degrees F.)
While the vegetables are roasting, combine 1/2 cup olive oil, rosemary, chili flakes, and garlic cloves in a small saucepan. Over low heat, warm the olive oil for about 10 minutes, taking care to not let the garlic color. You should hear the garlic slightly sizzle but the oil shouldn’t bubble. Remove from heat and set aside.
Then, lightly brush each slice of bread with the garlic-chili-rosemary oil. Toast in a 400-degree oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until crusty but still soft in the middle.
Add a few teaspoons of the garlic-chili-rosemary oil to the ricotta to loosen it, then spread it in an even layer on each slice of toasted bread. Top with the broccoli rabe and sweet potatoes, then drizzle a little more oil over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Save any remaining rabe, sweet potatoes, and garlic-chili-rosemary oil — mix 'em up for a salad, or add them to some grains for a great brown bag lunch.)
This article originally appeared on Food52.com: Roasted Broccoli Rabe, Sweet Potato & Ricotta Crostini

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