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Basil Romanesco Farfalle
Right Food for the Season - Late Summer
Written by Jon Ross-Wiley   

When in doubt, listen to Cathy Ruggiero at Spring Brook Farm.  A brief chat with her gave me enough ideas for this little gem to last a lifetime.  I had not seen romanesco before.  It immediately caught my eye...it just looks cool, and I started thinking about a myriad of plating opportunities.  Simply put, it's a hybrid of cauliflower and broccoli and should be cooked accordingly. I was warned by Cathy that the flower is a bit more delicate and therefore I should be cognizant of how long I steam or sauté it.  No one wants mush.  Although, as I type this with my 15-month-old son next to me I am thinking fresh romanesco baby food sounds pretty gourmet.  For this first run with romanesco, I went with just what Cathy recommended (with my own little additions).


I cooked it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and added it to some pasta.  Really you can throw anything you want into this mix (I certainly am aware that I am not presenting cutting-edge cooking techniques), but I opted for fresh cherry tomatoes and garlic scapes and the pasta of choice was farfalle.  Simple and really tasty.  The crunch (and then subsequent crumble) of the delicate romanesco florets added great texture to each bite.


Basil Romanesco Farfalle

1 pound farfalle

2 cups fresh romanesco, chopped

2 cups fresh cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup garlic scapes, finely chopped (or 2 tbsps. minced garlic)

1/4 cups fresh basil, chopped

1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated

5 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Boil the farfalle for 11-12 minutes for al dente.  While the pasta is boiling heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan.  Add the garlic scapes and let them work a bit.  Once you get that great garlic aroma coming from your pan, add the romanesco.  As the romanesco reaches your desired crunch, add the cherry tomatoes and salt and pepper (you may need a dash more olive oil as well). Drain the farfalle, place it back in the pot and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the romanesco and tomatoes to the farfalle and toss.  When plating, add a liberal amount of fresh basil and romano cheese.




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