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
Broccoli is one of those vegetables with a negative image. We had it many ways when I was a kid, and I admit it was not my favorite. Many people think that steamed or boiled broccoli is just bland; I agree. I cook it the way it was done at home, in a frying pan with olive oil, garlic, and very little water. The result is tender broccoli, still verdant green and very tasty.
1 bunch broccoli
1/4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Trim off the thick woody stems from the broccoli and cut the broccoli into 1 1/2-inch florets, separating the florets. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic begins to soften. Add the pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the broccoli and stir to coat with the oil. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, then reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add 1/4 cup of water to the pan, cover, and cook until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 6 minutes; add additional water if needed to keep the broccoli from burning.
Transfer the broccoli to a serving dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper and the cheese. Serve immediately.
Note: I always add a little olive oil to vegetables that are boiled because it helps to retain their color. In this dish, the broccoli remains vibrant because of the olive oil. At home, bread crumbs fried in olive oil were sometimes sprinkled over the broccoli.