Let’s Go Romanesco! Easy Romanesco Pasta with Lemon & Garlic
Pimp up your pasta and have a fabulous weeknight meal that takes no time at all, but feels a little bit special. This seasonal romanesco pasta dish is a taste sensation. It’s quick and simple to make and is also suitable for vegans.
Romanesco, also known as the Roman cauliflower is actually half cauliflower, half broccoli. It looks almost alien with its strange structure and lime green fractal florets. But don’t be put off, it’s one of the tastiest brassicas out there and is perfect for an all Italian late autumn or winter meal. I was inspired by the delicious roasted romanesco at River Cottage a few weeks back and have been experimenting at home with frying it rather than roasting. Its inherent nuttiness is enhanced when fried or roasted. It also has an affinity with garlic, lemon, chilli and almonds. So for this romanesco pasta dish I used all four. Luckily I didn’t have to go to Italy for the romanesco as we grow plenty of them here in Cornwall. It’s always nice to enjoy local produce where possible.
Barilla is Italy’s top selling pasta brand. It uses only top quality durum wheat and water. Oh, and some Italian passion apparently! I was sent a selection of their pasta and sauces to try. For this recipe I went with the wholewheat fusilli; I prefer to eat wholefoods when given the choice. I also like the fun twisty shape and find it holds a tomato sauce very well. The ingredients are %100 whole durum wheat semolina and water – talk about elegant simplicity.
Barilla also make a fantastic Arrabbiata sauce, or what I’d call tomato & chilli sauce. It contains only natural ingredients, is rich and flavoursome with just enough chilli to make its presence felt. Italians are not hot headed, or at least when it comes to chillies.
The romanesco is first steamed, then fried with lemon and garlic. This tops the pasta and tomato sauce. My romanesco pasta is then finished with toasted flaked almonds to make a delicious dish fit for anyone, including vegans. The flaked almonds could, of course, be swapped for some grated Parmesan cheese.
The fusilli pasta was one of the best I’ve tried. I’ve noticed some of the brands go a bit mushy on the outside whilst the inside isn’t quite cooked. The sauce had a good consistency and excellent flavour and the whole dish was truly scrumptious. CT kept telling me just how delicious it was – he’s not generally one for going into raptures.
- 1 small romanesco - rinsed & drained
- pinch sea salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic
- ¼ organic lemon - zest and juice
- 20g flaked almonds
- 170g Barilla wholewheat fusilli pasta
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 200g (½ jar) Barilla arrabbiata tomato & chilli sauce
- Trim the romanesco of outer leaves and tough stalk.
- Place in a medium sized pan with a couple of centimetres of boiling water and the pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the romanesco is just tender.
- Dry fry the almonds over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally until golden.
- Remove the romanesco into a colander and allow to drain, then pull apart into florets .
- Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 11 minutes or until al dante.
- Meanwhile warm the sauce gently in a pan, stirring occasionally until near simmering.
- Heat the oil on a non-stick frying pan. Add the romanesco florets and fry over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes - the florets should be just beginning to char. Grate in the lemon zest and add the garlic after the first 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, squeeze in the lemon juice and stir.
- Divide the pasta into 2 bowls. Spoon the sauce over the top, then add the romanesco and finish with the almonds.
- Double the quantities for 4 people.
- If you're really hungry, allow 100g pasta per person instead of 85g.
It also goes to Katie over at Feeding Boys for Simple and in Season.
Post commissioned by Barilla. I was not expected to write a positive review and all opinions are, as always, my own. Thanks to my readers for supporting the brands that help to keep Tin and Thyme blythe and blogging.