Sunday, July 25, 2010

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

"How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways."  Elizabeth Barrett Browning said it right but I'm sure she wasn't talking about broccoli.  I mean who says love and broccoli in the same sentence?  Not many.  Broccoli is so great for cooking because it's so versatile.  It can be broiled, roasted, sauteed, steamed, stir-fried, pureed - not to mention the health benefits it provides.  I think most of us steam it, add a little olive oil or butter and serve it up.  How would you like to taste broccoli that has been slightly caramelized so it has a touch of sweetness, offset by a slightly salty bite with Parmesan, a zing of lemon juice, and last but not least the crunch and creaminess of pine nuts.  For once you'll enjoy eating your vegetables.

I'm always searching for great, easy vegetable dishes.  Vegetables can get very boring.  Especially if we get in a rut and fix them the same way every day.  We've all heard it many times - we've got to eat our vegetables.  Unfortunately, many vegetables don't have a lot of flavor unless they're straight from the garden.  For those of us that don't have a garden, we have to improvise.  This means dressing them up by adding flavor with spices, fresh herbs, cheese, roasting, and grilling.  Did I mention cheese?  Whatever it takes.  

This recipe comes from Ina Garten who as I may have mentioned before is one of my favorites cooks.  Her recipes are always delicious.  I came across this recipe one day and tried it out and since then it has become a household favorite.  If you're having something simple like grilled chicken or fish, it can really add a nice touch to the plate and palate.       

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

2 large heads of broccoli, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted in a dry skillet until slightly browned
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (about 12 leaves)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Place the broccoli on a baking sheet.  Toss the garlic and drizzle about 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toss the broccoli to evenly coat and spread it out in an even layer on baking sheet.  Roast for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan and basil.  Serve hot.

Adapted from the barefoot contessa cookbook, back to basics

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