Italian Broccoli is garlicky with a touch of spicy heat and toasted flavor that comes from browning the broccoli in extra-virgin olive oil. It might become your favorite new way to make broccoli!
Looking at my photos (especially the older one; scroll down to the bottom of this post to see it), you might think I overcooked the broccoli, lol! But hear me out, there’s a method to my madness, I promise.
During undergrad school, I lived in dorms where the food was less than stellar. And further, the only available kitchen was a kitchenette (read: mini stove and sink) that was always dirty (layers of grease on the stove, a sink full of someone’s dirty dishes; you know how it goes in college dorms). And worse yet, the entire floor shared it!
So when Carrot Couture, one of my genetics class study buddies, invited me to eat dinner at her house with her family on Sundays, it was a deliciously welcome change. Her family was Italian and had a built-in personal chef – her grandmother!
Italian Broccoli – The Back Story
Carrot Couture’s grandmother (who spoke only Italian but understood a little English) would make all kinds of Italian feasts. A few favorites were Osso Buco and Spaghetti with Homemade Gravy and Meatballs.
My absolute favorite side dish that she made was Italian Broccoli (really, it’s incredible…the pictures obviously don’t do it a shred of justice, lol!). The first time I tasted it, I was giddy with glee and told my friend that I’d never had broccoli that tasted so good.
I asked what kind of broccoli it was and her grandmother laughed and said “Italian!”, as if naturally, that was the only explanation I needed. I tried to get her Italian broccoli recipe, but it was really more of a method than anything else.
Grandmothers are notorious for cooking by feel and not writing down their recipes. (Perhaps this is why they are usually better cooks than their successors? So I had to use trial and error to determine the amounts. Years later, I still make my version of this dish in honor of her. Of course hers was better, but mine still isn’t too shabby.
Pro Tip: This is great as a side dish with just about anything, but it can also be turned into a fantastic appetizer very easily. To do so, thinly slice a baguette, drizzle with olive oil, and toast in the broiler, then top the toasted bread with this broccoli and some freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Seriously amazing!
How to Cook Broccoli Without a Steamer
Broccoli is very easy to steam right on the stovetop without a steamer. To do so:
- Add the broccoli to a large, deep nonstick skillet.
- Add 1 inch of water, and then add a generous pinch of salt.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, and then cover the skillet and cook for 90 seconds.
- Drain the broccoli immediately.
More Broccoli Recipes to Try:
- Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Broccoli and Cheese Casserole
- Crunchy Broccoli Salad with Creamy Dressing
- Broccoli Cheddar Egg Muffins
- Creamy Broccoli and Bean Soup
- Instant Pot Creamy Garlic Broccoli Mash
- Stovetop White Cheese Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli
- Broccoli Stem Gratin
Did you make this recipe? Please rate it and leave a comment below because I love hearing from you! You can also tag @anediblemosaic on social media. To stay up-to-date FOLLOW ME on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Xoxo, Faith
Italian Broccoli (Spicy Garlic Broccoli)
- Add the broccoli to a large, deep nonstick skillet. Add 1 inch of water, and then add the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then cover the skillet and cook for 90 seconds. Drain the broccoli immediately.
- Wipe the skillet try. Add 4 tablespoons oil and heat it over high heat. Once hot, add the broccoli and spread it out in an even layer. Let it cook (do not stir) until it’s golden on one side, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to low, and add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the garlic, and the crushed red pepper flakes. Cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Net Carbs: 4g per serving
- Italian Broccoli is delicious with a squeeze of fresh lemon on top right before serving!
- This is great as a side dish for just about anything, but it can also be turned into a fantastic appetizer very easily. To do so, thinly slice a baguette, drizzle with olive oil, and toast in the broiler, then top the toasted bread with this broccoli and some freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Seriously amazing!
- Another serving suggestion is to toss this broccoli with a pound of pasta that’s cooked to al dente. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve.
This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on January 6, 2011. I updated it with new photos and more information on January 10, 2020. As a point of comparison to show how much my photography has evolved, I kept one of my original photos (below).
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