This typical Roman side dish is simple yet packs a punch in terms of flavour.Like many regional dishes, this is usually one of those that isn't followed according to a recipe but that families make to their taste. Some will infuse smashed whole garlic cloves in the olive oil, then remove them before adding the broccoli -- a good, mellow version for those who are a bit garlic-shy. Some add the wine before adding the garlic and chili, others may use red wine or water instead of white wine. And chili is entirely optional. Traditionally, this is always done with broccoli, but this technique lends itself well to other vegetables in the brassica family like cauliflower and romanesco broccoli. But why stop there? It's wonderful also with leafy greens such as kale and silverbeet. —Emiko
head of broccoli (about 1 pound)
extra virgin olive oil
cloves of garlic, sliced finely
chili pepper, chopped (or ½ teaspoon of dried chili flakes) – optional
Chop the broccoli into pieces, using florets and any nice leaves. Part of the stalk can be used too, sliced thinly and then into sticks or pieces about the size of the florets.
Heat oil in a skillet large enough to hold the vegetables. When hot, add broccoli and cook, turning, until golden. Season with salt.
Turn down the heat to medium and add garlic and chili (if using) and continue sautéeing for a couple of minutes, then add the white wine (or water if you don't have it on hand), cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are cooked, but still have a little bite to them.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.