Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy
Mary Ann's newest book contains over 150 recipes, 60 gorgeous food photos, and many scenic pictures of Italy taken by Mary Ann on her travels through the years.
SERVES 4 TO 6
It always puzzled me as to why I did not see broccoli in many markets in northern and central Italy. I learned that broccoli is regarded as a southern Italian vegetable, appearing in the cooler months of the year.
In this recipe, broccoli is boiled and then served cold, combined with borlotti beans. You can also use chickpeas in place of the borlotti. Soak the beans the night before you plan to make the salad; otherwise they will take about an hour to cook.
1/2 cup borlotti (cranberry) beans or chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 pound broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets
Drain the beans, rinse, place in a pot, and cover with cold water. Bring the beans to a boil and cook for about 35 to 45 minutes, or until tender but not mushy. They should remain firm to the bite. Drain the beans and set aside.
While the beans are cooking, make the dressing. In a serving dish, large enough to hold the beans and broccoli, mix 7 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and parsley.
Place the broccoli in a large pot of boiling water. Add the remaining tablespoon olive oil. Do not cover the pot. Cook the broccoli until a knife is easily inserted into the stem end, about 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully drain the broccoli and cool to room temperature.
Add the beans and the broccoli to the dressing. Toss gently to coat the vegetables well. Cover the dish and let the vegetables marinate at room temperature for several hours, stirring often.
Note: Adding a little olive oil to the cooking water when boiling green vegetables helps retain their color.