penne, romanesco, capers, anchovy, olives, chiles


I’ve decided to call it, or at least file it under ‘broccoli’, rather than ‘cauliflower’, but it doesn’t really matter what I call it. Romanesco is very beautiful, and very tasty.

I think most people, when they first come across a head of this vegetable, have trouble believing it’s actually a natural form (in this image it looks quite unreal, or at the very least, magnified a zillion times). I think that was also my own experience, but once I was convinced there was nothing fake about them, I’ve found it difficult to avoid taking one home whenever I see them.   The food photographer Laura Anderson has described Romanesco as “The helical cruciferous vegetable, which looks like the lovechild of cauliflower and broccoli with some alien DNA thrown in…”.

Also, we note that it’s definitely chartreuse, a color which is not actually that common in the vegetable world.


a gathering of small Romanesco on the table at Lucky Dog Organic Farm


The recipe (which I halved) on which I based the meal was published in New York magazine over ten years ago, and it was attributed to Sara Jenkins; the source of the ingredients is described below.  I improvised by adding some diced fresh hot peppers.

  • three very small heads (they were pretty cute) of Romanesco broccoli from from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, two small heads of garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, a handful of Kalamata olives, a few capers, one salted anchovy fillet from Buon Italia, 9 ounces of Afeltra Penna Rigata from Eataly, a few tablespoons of bread crumbs I made in my kitchen, and a surprising amount of finely-chopped hot peppers, of various hues, from several greenmarket farmers
  • the wine was an Italian (Tuscany) white, Villa Antinori Toscana 2014
  • the music was Q2 Music streaming, specifically, ‘Generation XYZ: 24-Hour Marathon of Composers Age 40 and Under‘, which the station had repeated