If you’re used to quick-cooked broccoli, barely blanched in boiling water, or crisp, raw florets, this old Alice Waters recipe from “Chez Panisse Vegetables” (HarperCollins, 1996) might seem a little off. A whole hour of simmering with the lid on? Yes! The result is an incredibly sweet, tender, juicy and delicious vegetable with almost no hands-on work. Finish the dish with plenty of cheese and lemon zest, and an extra drizzle of olive oil, and eat it just the way it is, or break it up into some hot, just-cooked pasta for a bigger meal.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2pounds large-headed broccoli
- 8garlic cloves
- ½cup olive oil, plus more for serving
- ½teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 3salt-packed anchovies or chopped oil-packed anchovies (optional)
- 1lemon, halved
- Pecorino Romano, for serving
Step 1Pick off the coarse leaves from the broccoli stems, and peel away any tough skin with a vegetable peeler. Break up the head into a few large florets, then slice each one lengthwise, cutting through the stem and top to make 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch-thick cross sections. Put the broccoli in a wide saucepan, about 3 inches deep, with a fitted lid.
Step 2Peel and slice the garlic, and add to the pan with 2 cups water, the olive oil and red-pepper flakes. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Step 3Bring to a boil, then cover the broccoli and simmer on low for about 50 minutes, until the broccoli is tender and just beginning to crumble and the liquid is nearly completely evaporated. If the pot starts to go dry before the cooking time is up, add a splash of water to keep it going.
Step 4Rinse, fillet and chop the salt-packed anchovies, if using. When the broccoli is cooked through, toss with lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice and anchovies, if using, then scrape into a serving dish and cover with a drizzle of olive oil and grated cheese. Serve warm, or at room temperature.