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Porcini and Tomato Maccheroni with Romanesco Broccoli

Romanesco broccoli

Romanesco broccoli is an edible flower bud. It tastes very similar to cauliflower, but with a slightly nuttier, earthier flavor.
  • Pre time 1h
  • Cook time 1h 20m
  • Serves 6
  • Maccheroni Calibres Traditional handmade dried pasta 500g
  • Romanesco Broccoli head (kept whole) 1
  • Large white onion 1
  • cloves garlic 3
  • boiling water 500ml
  • Italian tomatoes 2 tins
  • dried porcini mushroom 100g
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • bay leaves 3
  • extra virgin olive oil 150ml
  • Parmesan Cheese 50g
  • butter 25g
  1. Pour the boiling water onto the dried mushrooms and leave to soak for 1 hour.
  2. Cut the onion into 2cm sized cubes and place into a large saucepan, big enough to have the Romanesco Broccoli head place into it. Add 100ml of the olive oil and cook over a medium high heat to allow the onion to sweat and cook. Add 2 pinches of salt and the bay leaves. Cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Slice the garlic into thin pieces and add to the cooking onion. Cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Trim any unwanted pieces from the soaked Porcini and add to the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the tinned tomatoes. Break, crush and stir the tomatoes into the sauce. Trim any damaged or dried leaves from the Romanesco Broccoli and place the whole head into the pot. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil over the broccoli and sprinkle some sea salt on too.
  5. Sieve the porcini water to remove any grit and add the water to the pan. Shake and stir the pot to incorporate the mixture and place a lid on the pan. Turn the heat down to medium low and allow to cook for 15 minutes before lifting the lid and basting the broccoli with the sauce.
  6. Repeat the cooking and basting process 3 times, so that after 45 minutes the broccoli should be just tender in the centre.
  7. Use a paring knife or skewer to check. If they slide in smoothly the broccoli is ready.
  8. Boil 3 litres of lightly salted water. Pour in the dried pasta and stir well.
  9. Remove the broccoli from the pan and cut into large chunks. If you like the theatre of the event, show your friends the cooked broccoli beforehand.
  10. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it well and add it into the sauce pan holding the tomato sauce. Mix well then add the butter and half of the grated parmesan cheese. Add the broccoli pieces to the pan, mix lightly and serve immediately with a light grating of parmesan.