When asked about her favorite food, our six-year-old daughter, Michela, invariably names broccoli. The broccoli she’s so fond of is the Romanesco variety.
When asked about her favorite food, our six-year-old daughter, Michela, invariably names broccoli. The broccoli she's so fond of is the Romanesco variety. Although it's fairly new to suburban supermarkets in the United States, Romanesco broccoli has been known in Italy since the 16th century. Grown in the region of Lazio, of which Rome is the capital (hence the name), it is a popular winter vegetable. It's also used in landscaping—its pointed florets arrange themselves in some amazing fractal shapes. But we buy it because its delicate flavor is so delicious. Often we will simply saute it and serve it like cauliflower, at room temperature, drizzled with some very good olive oil and sprinkled with salt. Another favorite preparation of the Hazan family is a sauce of Romanesco broccoli served on pasta. It's so toothsome that Michela sometimes eats the broccoli and leaves the pasta behind.