For the Love of Local Farmers, Eat Your Produce!
Kayla Parker, Seacoast Eat Local Intern
For the Love of Romanesco!
It was the last and coldest day of the outdoor farmer’s market in Portsmouth, but if you had braved the elements, you may have noticed that with the change of weather came another slight change in crop variety. One vegetable that gained a lot of attention this weekend was the Romanesco Broccoli. I wasn’t sure what to think of this unusual light green, crowned vegetable myself, guessing that it must be some unusual type of cauliflower.
Why You Should Love Romanesco Broccoli
Also called Romanesco cauliflower, this vegetable’s roots (no pun intended) can be traced back to 16th century Italy, and is a cross between the broccoli and cauliflower plant. It is a good source of potassium, vitamin C, carotene, and zinc. Zinc is a mineral that can act as an antioxidant as well as aid in immune system function. A low calorie food, with only about 25 calories per cup raw, the Romanesco has also been described as more easily digested than regular cauliflower. With a slightly nutty flavor and ability to maintain its structure when cooked, it can be used in a variety of dishes in which you might use either regular broccoli or cauliflower.
Nutrient profile from bonduelle.org and nutritiondatsa.self.com
How to Love the Romanesco Broccoli
For my recipe I decided to treat the Romanesco like regular broccoli and toss it in a delicious pasta dish. Romanesco can also be used in soups, sautees, grilled or roasted in sections or whole.
Local roasted Romanesco tossed with pasta, chicken and tomatoes
Recipe devised from a recipe that I’ve made using regular broccoli
1 medium head of Romanesco
2 medium tomatoes
4 medium chicken breasts
½ lb whole grain pasta (I used brown rice fusilli)
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut head of Romanesque into quarters and toss in 1 tbsp olive oil. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until slightly tender.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat in large pan. Cut chicken breasts into bite sized cubes and season with salt and pepper and cook in olive oil until done, about 8-10 minutes until golden brown on the outside and the internal temperature reaches 160 F. .
Dice two medium tomatoes and set aside. Grate 6 oz of cheese and set aside.
Boil pasta as directed (will vary depending on pasta used). Drain and move to a large bowl. Remove Romanesco from oven and chop into smaller pieces. Add cooked Romanesco, chicken, tomatoes and cheese into pasta and lightly toss. Serve hot.