Lemony Parmesan Roasted Broccoli


For a long time I didn’t care for broccoli as it brought back memories of green mush smothered in saucy orange cheese.  The green mush wouldn’t have been so bad had it not involved the cheese.  I think everyone should be allowed at least one “get out of jail” card for that food which they absolutely detest and can’t stand the sight or smell.  My card would be used for processed (American) cheese.  I’ll eat marrow, kidneys, any vegetable, any fruit, pretty much anything but that gooey gloppy stuff.  That may have been the bigger issue, but I still was not a fan of the broccoli.

Then I discovered roasting, and learned the easy secret to no more mushy broccoli.  Roasting renders the broccoli tender plus makes it crispy and brown.  Toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and you’ve got yourself a side.  Which I made for years.  But then I discovered this Barefoot Contessa recipe which combines some of my other favorite foods – garlic, lemon, pine nuts and parmesan.  The flavors are strong and make this easy weeknight side a big hit in my house.  Now there is no excuse not to eat your green vegetables!

Lemony Parmesan Roasted Broccoli (makes 4 servings)

Note:  Toss it with pasta and add a bit more olive oil for a yummy main dish.  That’s what I do with any leftovers for next day’s lunch.

1 medium head broccoli (about 1 lb or 0.5 kg)

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons pine nuts

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Zest of one lemon

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup (about 25 grams) grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425º F (220º C).   Trim off the bottom 1-2 inches (2.5 – 5 cm) of the broccoli stalk.  Cut the florets into bite-size pieces.  Cut the stalks into 1/2 inch-thick (1 cm) rounds.  Place the broccoli in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (you may need to separate between two sheets, depending on size).  Toss with the garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast for 15-20 minutes until crisp-tender and tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and toss with the lemon zest, lemon juice and parmesan.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

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