When my husband and I first started co-habitating and planning our meals together, there was one thing we couldn’t agree on: vegetable side dishes. He liked broccoli, I liked beets, and neither of us could understand the other’s choice. However, for being two only-children, we’re actually pretty good at compromising, and over the years, I’ve learned to like broccoli, and he’s learned to well, tolerate beets.
My idea of edible broccoli used to be broccoli with a Kraft single melted on top. Perhaps my tastes have matured a bit, because Kraft singles don’t even taste like cheese to me anymore. They just taste weird. So, call me lazy, but broccoli just became microwave “steamed” broccoli, and I didn’t put any more effort into it then that. This time, I needed a vegetable side dish to go along side of some leftover Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragu, but one of our go-to weeknight meals is a piece of chicken or fish, brown rice, and this steamed broccoli.
I’ve realized that broccoli can be MUCH better than this microwave version. And since I’m cooking the chicken or fish in the oven, anyway, why not roast the broccoli while I’m at it? I already know that roasted vegetables like asparagus, beets, and bell peppers and onions are awesome, so I figured broccoli would be great roasted as well. This small change alone adds much more flavor to the broccoli (giving it a caramelized flavor), and makes it a hundred times more appealing to me.
I also started looking around the kitchen to find some other flavors to jazz up this cruciferous side dish. I thought some good-quality Parmesan cheese could sub in for the now-odd Kraft single. I also pulled out some lemons (who’s surprised?) and some red pepper flakes for a little heat. The resulting dish became the best broccoli I’ve ever made at home.
Parmesan-Lemon Roasted Broccoli
1 head of broccoli, stalks peeled and cut lengthwise into long pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2. Transfer broccoli to large serving bowl. Add cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest and red pepper flakes and toss to combine. Serve immediately.