Tonight was my first culinary encounter with Romanesco, and it was a felicitous one.


Romanesco is in the broccoli family, and as you see above, is a visually-stunning vegetable.  Unfortunately, tonight I was so focused tonight on cooking and eating that I took no photographs, so I’ll have to use words.

The best way to taste the essence of some vegetables is to steam them, so that was my starting point.  Blessedly, it is actually easier to separate the individual florets from the head of Romanesco I bought recently at a farmers’ market than for a similar head of broccoli or cauliflower.  I placed the florets in a steamer basket and steamed them for somewhere between 10 and 12 minutes, tasting a few smaller pieces along the way, to judge doneness.

Trying a piece or two, I found it pleasant but somewhere between mild and bland (as well as favorably sweet).  The next step was to saute the pieces in olive oil, with pine nuts (for flavor and protein) and a fair amount of salt and pepper.  Served in a pasta bowl, it was a fine first course.

Time to up the ante: we had a small bowl of leftover toppings from last night’s family pizza-making session.  So for my next course, I sauteed thinly-sliced zucchini, cremini mushrooms, onions and a little arugula in olive oil, and then added the remaining Romanesco and pine nuts, plus more salt and pepper.  Paired with a few glasses of the Li Veli rose (which my local wine merchant had obtained at an attractive, end-of-summer price from his distributor), that made a superb second course.  It was good enough that I dropped the idea of reheated pizza to finish the dinner.

I especially enjoyed the rose wine with it, since we had visited Li Veli in May and were very impressed with their delicious Negroamaro-based rose.

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