Italian methods of cooking greens

the following recipe is from rachel roddy. she is a lovely english woman who has lived in rome with her family for several years… she writes for the guardian about food, has 2 beautiful cook books and can be found on instagram @rachelaliceroddy.

although i have been making ripassati for many years… and with many vegetables… her words are by far the most poetic.

and remember, if you don’t have all the ingredients you can improvise.

broccoli ripassati

olive oil

Broccoli ripassati is hardly a recipe – more a technique, which, although simple, requires a bit of attention. First, forgive me for stating the obvious: in choosing the broccoli, it should be bright, with a tight juicy look. If it is limp, with the sort of suffering look I excel at, buy something else.

Once trimmed, the florets need to be boiled in well-salted water until tender: save squeaks for another recipe and al dente for the pasta. Extra virgin olive oil is important, it should be of good flavour, and you should use a generous amount of it. Warm the oil slowly and patiently over a low flame, so the flavour of the garlic and the chilli really have a chance to infuse the oil. The scent will curl up seductively. You could also melt an anchovy or three into the mix. Important, too, is the broccoli cooking water (and later the pasta cooking water) , a little of which is carried into the vegetable pan where it emulsifies with the oil and contributes to the creaminess of the final dish.

It is this soft creaminess that makes broccoli ripasatti such a good companion for pasta, a dish that appeals to almost everyone – even those who claim to dislike broccoli. Pasta and broccoli can be topped with a spoonful of ricotta, some anchovy breadcrumbs, or a handful of olives and capers. Romans usually serve broccoli ripassati as a con torno (side dish) with meat – especially sausages – but it is quite delicious enough to eat on its own. I also like it piled on garlic‑rubbed toast, possibly topped with a fried egg.