Have you tried romanesco yet? You've probably seen it. It looks like broccoli and cauliflower hooked up and had a baby.
It looks like something whimsical you'd see growing from the ground in the Lord of the Rings series. With a hobbit sitting underneath it.
I call it “broccoli light”, because that's what it tastes like, but it really is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. And with parentage like that, it's unsurprisingly nutritious.
Top 5 Nutritional Benefits of Romanesco:
- Detoxifies the blood, making it the perfect vegetable to eat after the holidays
- Boosts overall immune function
- High in a flavonoid compound shown to kill cancer cells and prevent the formation of new ones
- High in fiber, promoting fullness without the calories
3 Simple Ways to Prepare Romanesco
- Cut the florets from the central core ‘trunk', separate any that are attached to each other, and eat raw.
- Steam or boil for a few minutes until just tender, and toss with olive oil, lemon zest, and Parmesan.
- Preheat the oven to 425˚F, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle a spray of Italian herbs, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Roast until tender, 15 – 20 minutes.
Another thing you can do with romanesco, is make this pasta dish for dinner tonight. I sautèed some florets with apple slices, garlic paste, and scallions for an explosion of flavor. I then tossed the sautèed vegetables with pasta and a curry cauliflower sauce. This cauliflower sauce is so creamy that you'll swear there's cream in it. Or at least some milk. But no, not a drop. Pectin in its florets thickens cauliflower into a velvety sauce. I learned that in this recipe on Food52, and it's where this recipe began its evolution. Best of all, the cauliflower sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated, making this dish a super fast weeknight dinner.
Make it Vegan
Substitute 1 – 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast for the cheese.
Romanesco Pasta with Apples and Curry Cauliflower Sauce
Romanesco Pasta with Apples
- 3 tablespoon olive oil, plus a drizzle at the end
- 1 cup sliced scallions, including the green stems
- 2 -3 tablespoons small diced poblano pepper
- 1 - 2 tablespoons garlic paste
- 1/2 Fuji apple, unpeeled, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup romanesco florets, about 1 1/2 small heads
- 1/2 cup Creamy Cauliflower Sauce, recipe below
- 2 cups farfalle pasta
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grated Asiago, optional
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper,
- 1 tablespoon toasted breadcrumbs,
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
Romanesco Pasta with Apples
- Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain.
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallion and poblano and sautè, stirring occasionally, until softened and fragrent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add the romanesco florets and cook another 2 minutes. Add the apples and sautè until the apples are slightly soft, about 2 minutes.
- Add the sauce and cooked pasta, and toss until everything is heated through, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Top with the parsley, cheese, breadcrumbs, and chives. Finish with a little salt and a few grinds of pepper. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm.
Curry Cauliflower Sauce
- In a medium saucepan, cover the cauliflower and shallot with vegetable stock and simmer, partially covered, until very tender, about 20 minutes. Add everything to a blender along with the spices, and whirl until smooth. While the blender is running, slowly pour in olive oil to emulsify.
- Store any leftovers airtight in the refrigerator.