Roy Finamore's Broccoli Cooked Forever

By • January 12, 2012 • 22 Comments

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Author Notes: When you push broccoli beyond that disappointing just-too-done state (and throw in a whole lot of olive oil, bubbling lazily with garlic, anchovy, and hot peppers) you find yourself with a miraculous substance -- essentially broccoli confit. The florets trap all the oil's richness, and the stems melt away.

It would be fitting spooned up onto some sturdy bread, blanketing a good ridge-y pasta, layered onto a pizza, or anointing a sandwich. Finamore says it also works with cauliflower.

From Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006).
Genius Recipes

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 bunches (2-2 1/4 pounds) broccoli
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 2 small hot peppers, halved lengthwise (Finamore likes small red peppers, but you can substitute green Thai chiles, various dried ones, even a big pinch of red chile flakes)
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. While the water is heating, cut the florets off the broccoli. Peel the stems and cut them into rather thick slices, about 1/3 inch.
  3. When the water comes to a boil, add the broccoli and cover the pot to bring it back to a boil quickly. Blanch the broccoli for five minutes. Drain.
  4. Put olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the hot peppers and anchovies. Cook, giving a stir or two, until the anchovies melt. Add the broccoli, season with salt and pepper, and stir well. Cover the skillet, turn the heat to very low, and cook for two hours. Use a spatula to turn the broccoli over in the skillet a few times, but try not to break it up. It will be very tender when done.
  5. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the broccoli to a serving dish. It is delicious hot or at room temperature.
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Comments (22) Questions (1)


6 months ago Ashley Marie

I'm torn on this one but only because I think I didn't salt it enough and served it with something that was too "oily" (feta stuffed chicken breasts). I think ssjasaurus has the right idea with serving it on crusty bread. Perhaps with a salad or a lean steak? Definitely a recipe I'll revisit and experiment with!


over 1 year ago soojasaurus

Basically I might have pushed this one two far, letting the broccoli basically fall apart. BUT it was just phenomenally delicious after I'd refrigerated it, letting the olive oil become more like butter and mushing it onto crusty bread, putting it in the oven with some sharp cheddar cheese. It was like the best version of broccoli and cheese, ever!


over 1 year ago Trena Heinrich

soojasaurus - I took your advice and added a little grated sharp cheddar on the broccoli. All I can say is I'm thrilled I did. You weren't kidding when you said it was the best broccoli cheddar ever. My husband and I gobbled up 3 lbs. of broccoli in 2 days!


over 1 year ago cucina di mammina

This is how my Mammina Loreta and Nonna Assunta cooked broccoli. They would blanch it first then basically braise/saute it on medium low heat with garlic and plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper (the chili flakes were reserved for thos of us who loved the extra heat.)

I tend to cook my broccoli less these days, but my famiglia asks me often to cook the broccoli for dinner ala Nonna Loreta :) Thanks for this lovely reminder that the old style cooks really did know what they were doing.


almost 2 years ago Trena Heinrich

I've made this numerous times this winter as broccoli is plentiful and cheap this time of year. I love this recipe. Broccoli has never tasted so good. I've used this as a "sauce" over roasted new potatoes, pasta, and fresh bread. It has an amazing depth of flavor thanks to the garlic, anchovies, and peppers.


about 2 years ago TheZBG

Don't quite get the appeal: the result was mostly tasteless and drowning in olive oil.


over 2 years ago Kelli G

I made this last night using three smalls heads of broccoli. I subbed capers for the anchovies and put the whole thing in the oven at 100 degrees C (~200 F) for two hours as my gas stove wouldn't go low enough. It turned out perfectly -- the broccoli still held together but melted in your mouth. Will definitely be making again, maybe today, since broccoli is my favorite vegetable. :D


over 1 year ago cucina di mammina

love your idea here too, Kelli G. thanks for posting as I will need to try this version now.


over 2 years ago morsch

Huh. I just made this, and it came out mushy and mostly tasteless, apart from being slightly spicy. Maybe my broccoli wasn't flavorful enough to start with. But I don't think I'll try again.


almost 3 years ago bexcellent

Mine came out blackened and crunchy. It was amazing, like the broccoli version of kale chips...but seems very different from what others describe.


about 3 years ago WIMARIPA

The broccoli totally fell apart when I made this. It was delicious though. I used it as a spread for bread in one meal and then turned it into a pasta sauce (kind of like a broccoli pesto) with some parmesan for another meal.


about 3 years ago savorthis

I finished this in a 225 degree oven for about 2 hours and it was wonderful. I served it with some broiled salmon that ended up a bit overcooked (thanks distracting three year old!) and the broccoli made a nicely unctuous, velvety sauce. I can't wait to try it with homemade pasta, guanciale, roasted cherry tomatoes and crusty bread.


about 3 years ago RG1

Well, I'd hope this would be great given the oil/vegetable proportions. But seriously, you can lower the oil and still achieve wonderful overcooked vegetables, especially with a high -water-content vegetable. The idea in Indian cooking at least is that you're concentrating the flavor, a necessity especially with our overgrown vegetables. The end result can be close to a spicy pickle ("achar"), which is a good foil for the bland wheat bread that meals go with. Not surprised that it makes a good soup, either.


about 3 years ago EatDrinkLyon

I made this tonight. It totally fell apart and I ended up with lots of crumbled soggy broccoli. It was utterly delicious though, I have to say. My cooker tends to destroy things as even the lowest gas just burns so fast. I'd advise anyone thinking of making it to make sure you really do cook it on the lowest possible setting, and use a gas diffuser if you have one (I don't). Very yummy indeed. Will make again. (And my husband liked it too!)


about 3 years ago YGBSM

it was amazingly delish, but i couldn't get past the mouth feel. i'm glad i made this, but i will never make again, although i might try a much shortened time with brussels sprouts.


about 3 years ago Lucytron

I made this last night without the anchovies (not to my liking) and it was delicious. Served it with pan-roasted chicken breasts and penne pasta.


about 3 years ago GiGi26

I think you have just given me a way to get my husband to eat broccoli. Adding anchovies, garlic and hot peppers just might do the trick!!


about 3 years ago magdance

Although I blanch and shock like everyone else, I learned years ago from Marcella Hazan's books about the pleasures of overcooked vegetables. See her Smothered Broccoli in Red Wine in More Classic Italian Cooking or the brown, wrinkled carrots in Carrots with Parmesan Cheese in The Classic Italian Cook Book. Each cooks for an hour to an hour and a half and tastes great.


about 3 years ago MARIA DOMENICA

This is how my mother would make it and then toss it over mosticcioli. heaven.


about 3 years ago Matriarchy

I made this immediately and tried it smeared on nann,and then as a sauce on cheese ravioli. The recipe makes a quart, and I will try it next mixed in mashed potatoes. Mmmm. I wonder if I could make it in a slow cooker.


about 3 years ago Nora

Bet you could, inpatskitchen. I use a similar method to cook broccoli, but haven't blanched it. Fresh, frozen, blanched, not blanched--do try a low, slow cook and you'll love it.


about 3 years ago inpatskitchen

I love this!! Do you think I could sub thawed frozen broccoli and skip the blanching step? (It's snowing...I don't want to go out LOL!!)