Saturday, October 29, 2011

Roasted romanesco cauliflower with thyme and pine nuts

Romanesco cauliflower is one of the most beautiful vegetables that I have seen. It is also called romanesco broccoli or calabrese romanesco in Italian recipes. It is lime green in color with florets which look like minarets. It is part of the cauliflower family but more tender and has a sweet and nutty taste. If you love cauliflower or broccoli you will definitely love this one even more, thanks to its milder flavor.

Roasting is my most favorite way to cook cauliflower and that's what I did with the Romanesco cauliflower as well. I tossed the florets with olive oil and a good bit of fresh thyme and garlic and then once roasted I mixed in toasted pine nuts and some freshly grated parmesan cheese. The combination was divine - my entire family wanted more even though I had roasted a whole head of it. The addition of the pine nuts gives the dish some richness and the parmesan rounds it off with its salty crunch.

Roasted Romanesco cauliflower with thyme and pine nuts
1 medium head about 1.5 lbs romanesco cauliflower
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons or more extra virgin olive oil
Generous grinds of fresh black pepper
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. 
  2. Cut the cauliflower into small florets trying to retain their minaret shape.
  3. Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and garlic and place them in a single layer on a roasting pan. Cook for 20 minutes. Toss once again and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes to get those nice brown tips.
  4. Remove to a serving bowl and mix well with the cheese and pine nuts before serving.
Serves 3 people or very greedy 2.

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