Of all the new vegetables we’ve met via our CSA — the cardoons, the agretti — I think my favorite might be romanesco broccoli, the fractal vegetable. It’s firmer than standard broccoli but sweeter than cauliflower, and it tasted great the other night in an easy pasta with lemon zest, sliced almonds, and asiago cheese. Here’s the recipe:
12 ounces campanelle or penne pasta
7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 heads roughly chopped Romanesco broccoli (about 1 1/4 lbs. total)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp. oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add Romanesco and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tbsp. more oil to pan along with garlic and chile flakes. Cook until garlic is fragrant and light golden and Romanesco is tender, about 5 minutes more.
Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water, and return to pot. Stir in Romanesco mixture, lemon zest, almonds, cheese, remaining 3 tbsp. oil and 1/4 tsp. salt, and enough pasta water to moisten (about 3/4 cup).