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Romanesco cauliflower with garlic and parsley recipe

Romanesco cauliflower with garlic and parsley recipe

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  • Dish type
  • Side dish
  • Vegetable side dishes

If you like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, you're sure to like romanesco too! It has a slightly sweet, nutty taste. In this recipe it is simply blanched in boiling water, then pan fried in butter and flavoured with garlic and parsley.

2 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 1 romanesco cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley

MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:20min

  1. Bring a pot of water to the boil; add florets and cook for just 3 minutes. Drain.
  2. Melt butter in a pan; add minced garlic and saute the florets until tender. Sprinkle parsley over the florets; cook a minute or so. Serve.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(5)

Reviews in English (4)

by Dede

Very easy to make and tasty to eat. I've done it with straight cauliflower and with a fancy "green" type of cauliflower I've forgotten the name for. Love them both, a LOT!-20 Aug 2017

by Becky

I received Romanesco in my CSA box, and prepared it just as directed in the recipe - oh, my! This is not only delicious, it makes a beautiful presentation! Adding a few slices of roasted red pepper and/or cooked crumbled bacon would be great garnishes.-09 May 2017

Roasted romanesco with brown butter toasted panko

In my past life as a painter, I loved the process of making art nearly as much as the completed work. These days, I express my creativity differently, but I’m still entranced by all the little steps that transform an ingredient into a finished dish. Our culture and busy lives push us toward faster, easier things – but, especially at the height of February, when the weather and produce are equally bleak, I find it grounding to get into the kitchen and cook with attention to the prep and stirring and all the other in-betweens. As it happens, a carefully roasted Romanesco, topped with nutty brown butter toasted panko and a bit of parsley offers both a wonderful opportunity to focus on process and a delicious finished dish that’s just right for a snowy February afternoon.

I’d been admiring the Romanesco at my local market for a while. I spent enough time eyeing it that fellow shoppers started asking me questions – it seemed everyone who passed was just as bemused and intrigued as I was. Outwardly showy and decidedly psychedelic, Romanesco is very similar in flavor and texture to cauliflower, though maybe a touch sweeter. Experts may tell you the proper name is Romanesco Broccoli and that it tastes like its namesake, but don’t believe them – it’s also known as Romanesco Cauliflower – a superior comparison, for sure.

To show off Romanesco’s beauty and wonderful texture, I roasted it. Even though I had a small head, I gave the florets generous space and smushed two baking sheets onto the top rack of my oven. While they roasted, I melted butter in a small skillet, coaxing it to a deep brown hue. Next, I tossed in minced garlic and panko, along with sea salt, pepper, and a minced parsley and let the breadcrumbs edge golden. As soon as the roasted Romanesco was tender with rich brown edges, I scattered the florets on a platter, topped it all with the warm toasted breadcrumbs, and served it up right away.

Top 5 Nutritional Benefits of Romanesco:

  1. Detoxifies the blood, making it the perfect vegetable to eat after the holidays
  2. Boosts overall immune function
  3. High in a flavonoid compound shown to kill cancer cells and prevent the formation of new ones
  4. Anti-inflammatory
  5. High in fiber, promoting fullness without the calories

Roasted Broccolini, Cauliflower and Romanesco with Garlic, Red Pepper and Herbs

Roasted Broccolini, Cauliflower and Romanesco with Garlic, Red Pepper and Herbs

Friends. I have a confession to make. So, as much as we all just LOVE pasta and pizza, they’re not the only Italian dishes to enjoy! This wonderful side is not only healthy, but molto delizioso! Alora, this wonderful side will make any main dish or protein POP and your family and guests will be coming back for more.

If you’ve never heard of romanesco, it’s like a cross between cauliflower and broccoli I find it to be a touch sweeter than both, yet a hint milder. It’s also one of the most beautiful vegetables I’ve seen. And broccolini… Well, if you thought I spelled “broccoli” incorrectly, it’s actually a thinner version of its big brother… Another beautiful vegetable (see photo), it cooks wonderfully. You can make it the way do, but crisp up some nice pancetta (pan-chet-ah), and top it later.

Now, about the Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s different than your store-bought Parmesan. It’s got a nice nutty, creamy flavor and I highly recommend you use it in the future for your Italian cooking. Buy it in pieces and grate it yourself.. How very gourmet of you! (And don’t forget to add your comments below the recipe.)

Romanesco with Green Olives and Capers

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Green, spiky-spired romanesco is a cross between cauliflower and broccoli. Growers Richard Sager of Two Peas in a Pod and Alex Weiser of Weiser Family Farms like its nutty taste that sweetens with cold growing nights. Boiling the garlic with the romanesco flavors the florets and tames the garlic for the dressing (which is also great over steamed or boiled potatoes). This dish is good hot or at room temperature, as a side or as part of an antipasto platter (add more lemon and garlic and marinate for a couple of hours or overnight). I like to use brined green olives from Adams Olive Ranch here.

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Cauliflower

A lot of people tell me they tend to eat the same vegetable side dish night after night – usually steamed green beans or broccoli. While delicious, I always recommend eating a variety of foods all year long for maximum nutrition and health benefits.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years when it comes to eating vegetables, it’s that roasting is almost always the best way to create maximum flavor with very minimal effort.

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Cauliflower & Onions couldn’t be easier to make or tastier. Feel free to mix and match with any vegetables you have on hand such as parsnips, Brussels or kohlrabi. The options are endless.

As the vegetables roast the natural sugars caramelize created a sweet, smoky and super flavorful side dish that no one can resist.

Yes, they absolutely can be reheated although they will be slightly softer than having just come out of the oven. Of course, you could always reheat in the oven to get them crispy again.

  • 1 large head romanesco cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup liquid coconut or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 whole lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Trim the washed cauliflower leaves and cut the stem, if necessary, so that cauliflower stands upright in a dutch oven or heavy cast-iron pan (with a lid). Place the cauliflower in the pan, and use a sharp knife to carve a 1 in. deep X into the top of the cauliflower.
In a small bowl, combine oil with diced onions, minced garlic, lemon juice, spices, salt & pepper. Pour over the cauliflower, slightly pulling the X apart so the oil can seep into the middle. Try to evenly coat the cauliflower (no need to flip it over). Pour sherry lightly over the whole thing, then cover the pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cauliflower is fork-tender, then remove the lid and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with an extra squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro or parsley. Serves 4, leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated for up to a week. Enjoy!

Make Cauliflower and Broccoli More Compelling

Vegetables go in and out of style. These days, the darlings of the vegetable set tend to be cruciferous. Cauliflower is simply adored, and broccoli, a close relative, is nearly as well loved. Kale is still in vogue, as is broccolini, a hybrid cross of gai-lan and broccoli. All have a certain humble, cabbagey, shabby-chic aspect.


There is no need to settle for plain steamed cauliflower or broccoli, however. There isn’t a cruciferous vegetable that couldn’t be made more compelling with garlic, red pepper and lemon, more delectable with a bit of oil, butter or cheese.

The classic Anglo baked cauliflower, smothered in cheesy cream sauce and long cooked until completely tender, is comfort food for many, as homey as mac and cheese. I confess I also like it that way. But I am usually more inclined to head in a different direction.

Many vegetables are good candidates for roasting in a hot oven, lightly coated with oil, or over high heat in a skillet. Cauliflower certainly is. Roasting concentrates its flavor and sweetness, producing lovely crisp, browned edges. Some cut it into medium-size florets, but my favorite way is to slice cauliflower into rough, random-shaped slices a quarter- to a half-inch thick. The slices have flat surfaces for better browning, and there are always some nice crumbly bits that brown, adding varied texture.

Roasted cauliflower slices may be seasoned simply with salt and pepper, or more complexly with a mixture of Indian spices like cumin, mustard seeds and turmeric. A more Mediterranean approach is to shower them with garlic, parsley and rosemary during the last minute or two of cooking. Cauliflower’s benign nature also begs for a hit of lemon and hot pepper.

In Sicily, cauliflower comes in many colors, displayed in abundant piles at the market. You see the familiar white ones, but also a pale-green variety in Palermo, or a violet-purple kind from Catania. To confuse matters, most Sicilians call cauliflower broccoli, even though the Italian word for it is cavolfiore.

A traditional way to prepare it is baked with a topping of soft sheep’s milk cheese and black olives. It is quite a tasty combination, but some versions are somewhat underwhelming or bland. I think the addition of a little anchovy, garlic and hot pepper perks it up admirably. I use a combination of fresh cow’s milk mozzarella and pecorino cheese to stand in for the Sicilian sheep’s cheese. I also substituted romanesco broccoli — those curious-looking bright chartreuse spiky specimens — with delicious results. You may use any kind of cauliflower for this hearty dish.

The standard bushy green broccoli, the kind with one thick stem you can find everywhere, is serviceable, sturdy and long-lasting. But the fresher the broccoli, the more flavorful it is. In my experience, the organic broccoli at the supermarket (which is mainly from California) tends to be fresher and tastier than conventional. Also look for so-called sprouting broccoli, smaller and multi-stemmed, which you’ll find at farmers’ markets in temperate climates.

The way you cut the broccoli can make a difference, too. Instead of chopping off large puffy florets, which often end up overcooked, try making longer, thinner spears. I like to use a method called butter-steamed, which essentially means simmered in a shallow butter-and-water bath, covered, over high heat. In the process, the broccoli absorbs all, or nearly all, the savory cooking liquid, and takes no more than five minutes or so to cook. Broccoli steamed this way may be enhanced further with a generous application of crunchy, peppery homemade bread crumbs.

Feel free to make any of the three following recipes with cauliflower, broccoli or romanesco they are fairly interchangeable. And, being crucifers, all are equally stylish.

Romanesco cauliflower with garlic and parsley recipe - Recipes

Romanesco alla Diavola

Imagine the psychedelic lovechild of broccoli and cauliflower with lime green British punk hair, and you have something close to romanesco.

Romanesco broccoli is an edible flower with distinctive pointy, green florets. Cavolo broccolo romanesco, as it is known in Italian, has become increasingly popular in American cooking in the last decade, but this hybrid vegetable dates back to the 16th century.

In addition to its peculiar aesthetic, romanesco's appeal is its firm texture and earthy flavor. It is surprisingly sweet when cooked tender, like cauliflower but with a denser texture that holds up to lots of cooking methods.

Both in its native Lazio and the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, romanesco's season is very brief. Look for it for the next several weeks at your local farmer's market. It's hard to miss.

Romanesco can be served raw, lightly cooked, or cooked through. I usually sauté it slowly with garlic and lemon zest, and punctuate with red pepper flakes for zing.

Romanesco alla Diavola

Recipe courtesy of "Molto Batali" (ecco, 2011)

Serves 8 to 10 as a side dish.

1 large or 2 medium heads (about 2 pounds) Romanesco (or use regular cauliflower)

1 cup brine-cured green olives, pitted

3 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes

Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Cut the Romanesco into small florets, submerge them in the ice water, and set aside to soak for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the olives, capers, parsley and lemon zest on a chopping board, and chop together until minced.

In a small pot, heat the 1/3 cup oil and the red pepper flakes over medium-low heat until hot. Remove from the heat, and stir in the olive mixture, 1 teaspoon salt, and the lemon juice. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add 2 tablespoons salt. Drain the Romanesco from its ice bath, drop it into the boiling water, and add the garlic cloves. Cook until the florets are just tender, 5 minutes. Drain well, and separate out the garlic cloves. Add the cooked garlic cloves to the olive-caper dressing.

Place the dressing in a large bowl, add the Romanesco, and toss well. Taste, and add more salt, red pepper flakes, and/or lemon juice as needed. Serve hot or at room temperature, drizzled with the remaining olive oil. (If serving at room temperature, adjust the seasoning again before drizzling with oil.)

Romanesco Cauliflower Curry

Serves 2 as a main dish
Serves 4 as a side dish

1 medium sized romanesco cauliflower, cut into florets (if not available you can use cauliflower instead)
1 or 2 large garlic cloves, cut into small pieces
1 red or white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, cut into small pieces
3 handfuls frozen peas, defrosted
1 handful chopped parsley or fresh coriander
1/2 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon grated organic lemon peel
1 tablespoon olive or rapeseed oil
Celtic rock sea salt or himalayan crystal salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Optional: 1 fresh chilli, cut into fine pieces

If served as a side dish cook brown basmati rice as per instructions.

Preheat your oven to gas mark 6 or 200 Celsius. Put the onions, garlic, cauliflower, ginger, lemon peel, garam masala, curry powder, oil, chilli, salt and pepper into a large bowl. Mix all ingredients together and make sure that all vegetables are coated with the oil.

Spread the mixture onto a large baking tray and roast for about 25 minutes whilst turning regularly.

Transfer vegetables into a serving bowl and mix in the peas and fresh parsley or coriander.