Roman broccoli is not only beautiful but also good. With its fractal geometry, the Roman broccoli is an undisputed autumn lord. From the height to the first mists and the countrysides around Lake Bracciano are its best range.
Known since ancient times, broccoli, whose name derives from “brocco” or the sprout, is native to Asia Minor. This vegetable was considered sacred by the Greeks, the Romans used it to treat a wide variety of diseases and ate it raw before banquets to help the body absorb alcohol better, while crushing the leaves to treat ulcers and wounds. Today it is a natural anticancer and is rich in potassium and vitamin C.
Today the Roman Broccoli is included in the List of Italian Traditional Agri-food Products. This winter-growing plant has been a real source of nourishment over the centuries and the absolute protagonist of cooking treatises starting from the Roman ones of Pliny and Columella. For mathematical enthusiasts it represents the Fibonacci spiral in nature.
In 1834, broccoli became the topic of a sonnet by Giuseppe Giacchino Belli in which the protagonist is Torzetto, or the broccoli farmer.
The testament of Pasqualino
“Torzetto l’ortolano a li Serpenti
prometteva oggni sempre arzu’ curato
c’a la su’ morte j’averia lassato
cinquanta scudi e ccert’antri ingredienti.”
In the kitchen, broccoli is suitable for many recipes and is present in many dishes, from soups to pancakes. Everything is done a little, but broccoli soup is a must. A little different in form and substance, I prepared a quick and easy first course
Recipe of Spaghettoni with Roman broccoli with anchovy
First, get a fresh broccoli flower from Anguillara Sabazia that we will boil and drain without throwing away the water. In fact, in this water rich in vitamins and flavours, we will cook the pasta and we choose a square spaghettone.
Put the broccoli back in the pan with garlic, oil and a pinch of chilli, preferably fresh.
Then we put the still hot broccoli in the blender together with the Roman canestrato, a pecorino cheese that owes its name to the basket (basket) in which it is left to mature. It is a semi-hard pecorino cheese less incisive than the classic Roman one, the best one is that of the most northern dairies in Rome.
When the pasta is cooked and drained, put it in the pan for creaming together with the broccoli blended with cheese. It is served at the table with an anchovy over the pasta. Also the anchovy is a protagonist of the Roman and Latium cuisine, but I prefer those of Sciacca that are washed under a thread of running water.
Taste it with a good wine like a Bellone from the Agro Pontino.