Mezze Maniche con i Broccoli Romani
Broccoli romaneschi are strange space-age looking cauliflower that I have only been able to find in Rome. Their flavor is similar to normal broccoli though the flower on these is a bit firmer. According to Wikipedia Italians were using this type of broccoli as early as the 16th century, so no genetic modifications on this green flower.
I like to make this broccoli into a sauce to put over pasta, and like most Italians, I like to cook it into a pulp, not leaving the poor guy’s original form or color. Italians don’t generally like big pieces in their pasta, which makes sense, I usually steer clear of broccoli on pasta in the states because of the large steamed florets hanging around which aren’t integrated into any sauce and are usually larger than the pieces of pasta. Though I should figure out a way to keep some vitamin content in my broccoli, that is why my mother made my sister and I eat as kids, because it was good for us. I wonder how good for me this is!
Mezze Maniche with Broccoli Romaneschi
- 1 large bunch of broccoli romaneschi (you can also use regular broccoli for this recipe with similar results)
- 1 cup of pachino tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 1 salted anchovy
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt for pasta water
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Clean the broccoli romaneschi, removing the thick stems and preserving the broccoli florets.
When water starts to boil transfer the broccoli romaneschi to the pot and let boil for about 8 minutes.
Heat oil in a wide saucepan over medium-high heat and add anchovy, garlic and peperoncino. The anchovy should disintegrate into the oil. If the broccoli has not boiled for long enough and the garlic is sizzling, lower the heat on the pan to avoid burning the garlic until the broccoli is transferred to the pan.
Transfer the broccoli romaneschi to the pan. Sauté the broccoli in olive oil and break up the florets into small pieces with the tip of wooden spoon, add 1 cup of water to the pan. As the broccoli starts to dry out add small amounts of water.
In the meantime, fill a large pot with water for the pasta. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water starts to boil for the pasta add a small handful of salt to the water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
When the pasta is perfectly al dente, turn up the heat on the sauce and drain the pasta. Without shaking all of the water out of the colander pour the pasta into the pan and toss it with the sauce. This allows for the pasta to cook a little longer in the sauce and to absorb the flavor.
Make hot pepper oil available on the table for people to drizzle on their pasta to add some extra heat.