Garlicky Roasted Broccoli with Parmigiano-Reggiano
I’ll admit that my freezer is full of bags of frozen broccoli. It’s easy, it’s green and that’s usually good enough for me. But if I’m in the mood for something more special, I’ll roast fresh broccoli in olive oil and garlic until lightly golden, then finish it with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and a squeeze of lemon. It’s hardly any more work than microwaving frozen broccoli, yet so much more delicious.
Begin by cutting the florets off the crown and tossing them with olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, sugar and lots of garlic. I prefer to do this in a bowl, rather than directly on the baking sheet, because it ensures that the broccoli gets evenly coated with the oil and seasonings. (I also like to line the pan with foil, which rips easily and can cause a mess.)
Sugar might seem like an odd addition but it helps the broccoli caramelize and offsets any bitterness that develops as the broccoli browns.
Transfer the broccoli to a baking sheet and roast in a blazing hot oven for 10 minutes. It should be crisp-tender and lightly browned in spots.
Next, toss the broccoli with the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Note that it’s important to use authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano rather than domestic parmesan. The fake stuff doesn’t pack the same flavor and is, quite frankly, a waste of calories. If you can’t find Parmigiano-Reggiano, try Pecorino Romano or simply leave it out. Finally, a gentle squeeze of lemon heightens all the flavors. But go easy — too much lemon can be overpowering.
Try serving with my Parmesan Crusted Chicken. Enjoy!
Roasted Broccoli with Garlic, Lemon & Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 pounds broccoli crowns (be sure they are dry)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano*
Lemon wedge (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Cut broccoli into 2-inch florets, leaving one to two inches of stems attached. Discard remaining thick stalks. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and sugar and mix well. Add broccoli and toss to coat evenly. Transfer broccoli to prepared baking sheet. (You could also toss the broccoli on the prepared baking sheet, but the foil may rip, which causes a big mess.)
3. Roast for 10 minutes until crisp-tender and lightly browned in some spots. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano over broccoli. Taste and adjust seasonings. Transfer to serving dish and gently squeeze lemon wedge over broccoli if using. (Go easy! You only need 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice). Sprinkle remaining cheese over top and serve hot.
*For this dish, it’s important to use authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano rather than domestic Parmesan. It has a much stronger flavor. If you can’t find it, try Pecorino-Romano or simply leave it out.