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    Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

    November 11, 2009
     Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

    Does this look like the same old broccoli that we are all used to?

    I love broccoli. I mean, what’s not to like? It’s healthy, it’s fresh, it’s colourful, it’s crunchy, it’s tasty, it’s great!

    It stumps me when I read stories about parents have a tough time shoving broccoli down their little ones’ throats while they make a fuss about eating their greens. In fact, the only vegetable I thought I didn’t like was green beans. That was until I tried a green bean stir fry at a restaurant in NYC. I couldn’t believe I asked for more! That’s when it struck me that it’s not about that vegetable, it’s about how it is cooked. Each vegetable is different and it needs to be cooked right to extract the maximum flavor from it.

    So the other day while I was flipping through the pages of Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, I stopped at the photo of Parmesan roasted broccoli. Whenever I read Parmesan, my heart tends to skip a beat. And now that I had a few heads of broccoli in the refrigerator (along with all the other ingredients – yeah, I was surprised too!) this was the perfect opportunity to make myself some Parmesan roasted broccoli!

    Just something that I’d like to share with you – I love this book a lot because it is filled with simple ideas that are so easy to put together in minutes. It is the ideal cookbook to refer to when you want a fix yourself a quick, healthy dinner. This and Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Food are kept together in my bookshelf for meals that take under 30 minutes.

    Back to the broccoli. It took about 10 minutes to prepare, and the parmesan along with the broccoli was so cruncy and flavourful! What complemented the broccoli the most was the lime zest (I love you, my Microplane zester, you made zesting so much easier!) – it added such a zing to the dish. Loved when my mouth was hit with some grated zest that had held together. And no points for guessing that I doubled the quantity of garlic involved.

    Lemon Zest

    Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

    Serves 6
    Adapted from: Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics – Ina Garten

    4-5 pounds / 2kgs broccoli
    8 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
    4-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    2 tsp lemon or lime zest (I used lime)
    2 tbsp lemon or lime juice (lime, again)
    4 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
    ½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
    2 tbsp basil, julienned
    Salt and pepper to season

    1. Cut and wash the broccoli into chunky florets (they will reduce in size after roasting). Then lay the broccoli out on a kitchen napkin to dry (like, very, very dry) while you prep things up.
    2. Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C.
    3. Now in a sheet pan, arrange the broccoli in a single layer and toss the garlic on it. Drizzle with 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
    4. Roast for 20 minutes or until the broccoli has browned a bit and the broccoli has a crisp-tender texture.
    5. As soon as you remove it from the oven, toss it with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil and the rest of the ingredients – lemon juice, lemon zest, pine nuts, Parmesan and basil. Serve hot.
    Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

    Some points that will help you along the way:

    • Make sure to dry the broccoli very well before you roast them – if they have water on them they will tend to steam more than dry roast. You could lay them on a kitchen napkin for 30 minutes after you’ve washed them.
    • Let your pan preheat in the oven so it gets scorching hot, and then toss the broccoli on it to get maximum crispiness.
    • I think the lemon is the key part – don’t skimp on the lime zest – add a squeeze of the lime juice if you like (I didn’t though).
    • I loved the pine nuts in them. I think walnuts would taste fab too.

    I hope this works and you get your family to eat their greens. Though, I still haven’t replicated that green bean recipe, I’m so scared I might fail and go back to hating green beans!

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