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Roasted Broccoli with Red Pepper Flakes and Garlic

This simple dish takes advantage of the whole head of broccoli. Even if you think you don’t like the more fibrous stems, you will likely be converted by these tender spears with perfectly charred edges and tips. You can keep any leaves intact and just strip off the dried or bruised parts of the stem. These attractive little garlic-dotted branches make you want to forget your table manners and pick them up with your fingers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) broccoli heads, ends trimmed
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl oz./60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, plus more for serving
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt, to taste

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).

Cut the broccoli lengthwise into spears 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) long. Using a vegetable peeler or a sharp paring knife, peel off any dried or bruised skin from the stems.

Arrange the spears in a single layer in a roasting pan. Pour the olive oil over the spears, then sprinkle with the 3 Tbs. lemon juice, the garlic and red pepper flakes. Toss to coat thoroughly.

Roast, turning once about halfway through the cooking time, until the broccoli is tender and the tips and outer edges are crisp and browned, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately with an extra squirt of lemon juice and a few pinches of sea salt. Serves 4 to 6.

Fresh take: Try this dish with broccolini, a smaller, sweeter, more tender cousin of broccoli. You can also add some cheese: as soon as the broccoli comes out of the oven, sprinkle it with 1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and toss to distribute evenly.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Good Food to Share, by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan (Weldon Owen, 2011).