Monday, July 19, 2010

Broccoli Boring? Never!

Let's be real. We all know there are tons of broccoli haters out there. And there may be even more people who are like me: not a broccoli hater, but not a broccoli lover either. For us, broccoli is, well you know, blah. But once again, thanks to Ina, it doesn't have to be.

If you've ever watched The Barefoot Contessa, you know that Ina could probably make fish eyeballs look like the most delicious thing on Earth. Okay, that may be a tall order, but she would get you thinking about trying it. So when I saw her make her delicious Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli, I knew if I didn't like this dish, I would never find anything else to make broccoli taste amazing. As suspected, this recipe delivers.

This broccoli dish has entered our vegetable rotation for good. It is easy, and it takes a bland vegetable and makes it one that you can't stop eating. Trust me, I've caught myself shoveling this broccoli into my mouth like it was going out of style. Then I've laughed at the notion that broccoli would ever be the type of food one would shovel into their mouth. Try it for yourself...


  • 4 to 5 pounds broccoli
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets.

Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot. 6 servings.

My Recipe Notes:

  • The first time I didn't have pine nuts, so I made it without. I've made it several times since then with pine nuts, and while the taste difference isn't Earth-shattering, texture freaks like me will realize that pine nuts included are the way to go for a great crunch against the soft broccoli.
  • The garlic burned the first time I did this. Now I am very careful to make sure that my garlic chips lay on top of the broccoli, and not on the baking sheet. I set the timer for the lower time-20 min. Check a little bit before that just to make sure. I've had perfect, golden garlic chips ever since.
  • My husband and I half the recipe for just the two of us, but I hate measuring , so really I just eyeball everything. This combination of flavors is not ruined by not having exact amounts. A little of this, a little of that, makes it taste just great!
  • Fresh lemon juice and zest is crucial. It takes this from being a good dish to an amazingly bright- flavored dish. Don't skip or skimp!
The Glamour Shot (It's actually not much to look at, but don't let that fool you!):

I'm ready for my closeup Mr. De Mille...

Be careful with this one all my chic chefs! This could be the first time you have people fighting over the broccoli at dinner (I'm not opposed to throwin' elbows. Just sayin').


  1. Mmm...I'm going to try this tomorrow! Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. This is absolutely delicious and my kids love it too (4 and 2 yrs old). Easy to make and totally transforms the flavor of broccoli!