My grandfather did not like broccoli; wouldn’t eat it except about once a year when my mother made her cheese-smothered broccoli casserole for the holidays. But a friend of mine made some broccoli the other night that could make broccoli lovers out of many broccoli haters.
Personally, I love the stuff. And this Ina Garten recipe for broccoli roasted and topped with pine nuts, fresh basil, Parmesan and lemon zest was easy to make and really hit the spot. I could have eaten an entire plate of the stuff. The recipe calls for 4 to 5 pounds of broccoli, but one could easily halve that. It appears, from the Google searches I’ve done, to be a pretty popular recipe. Some of you may have tried it before. If you haven’t, see what you think!
On a different night, Howard and I decided to grill some chorizo from Sandy River Pork in Axton. This chorizo sausage was so good it didn’t need to be added to a recipe, although that would work, too. I decided to accompany it with some Spanish rice and refried beans.
The Spanish rice was super easy – it came from a box and only required a can of tomatoes added (I used no salt tomatoes). For the beans, I started with a couple of strips of bacon, which I chopped and sauteed with about 1/4 cup of onion until the bacon was crispy and the onion was translucent.
Next, I dumped in a can of pinto beans ( I drained off the juice on top but left the rest) and mashed up most of them, leaving some whole beans for texture. A little salt and pepper, maybe some hot sauce if you so desire, and cook these until they are nice and thick. Top with a little shredded cheddar. The bacon adds a nice, smoky flavor.
If you are vegetarian or want to lower the fat content, you could use smoked peppers instead. And there you have it – Mexican restaurant flavor at home. To find Walter’s chorizo, look for him at at the Roanoke City Farmers Market or his website here.
Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
An Ina Garten recipe
4 to 5 pounds broccoli
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.
3. Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.