Eat your greens

So, I’ve had a thing for broccoli my whole life. I loved, loved, loved pasta and broccoli as a child. As an adult,  pasta and broccoli not only remains one of my  go-to comfort foods for those nights when I don’t feel like overdoing it on the cooking. Yes, I also prepare it to satisfy the occasional hankering for this particular dish.

Yes, broccoli is available year-round, but, like most ingredients, its best during its peak season…which is right now! The flavor just pops and the vegetable shines in all its green glory, therefore it’s been appearing on Milan restaurant menus.

Some people event think that broccoli is banal and not worth celebrating, but I beg to differ! Now, I don’t judge, but I just don’t understand it when someone doesn’t like broccoli. Anyway, here’s a look at three delightful broccoli dishes I’ve enjoyed at Milan restasurants recently.

1) Broccoli risotto with smoked pancetta, spicy breadcrumb powder and preserved lemon peel at Ratanà

Ratanà is one of the restaurants in Milan that I hold near and dear to my heart! Everytime I go there, it’s such a treat.   Mondeghili are always in order as those fried meatballs are a classic, but all alluring dishes on the ever-changing menu make dish selection extremely difficult.  I swear that chef  Cesare Battisti, born-and-bred Milanese, is a rice whisperer so more often than not, I default to a risotto.  The most recent incaration (pictured above) in particular is one for the books. (Ratanà; Via Gaetano de Castillia, 28; + 39 02 8712 8855; website)

2) Chitarre with cream of broccoli, anchovies and toasted breadcrumbs at Pastamadre

Pastamadre is one of my favorite restaurants in Milan, and I’m loathe to admit that I don’t get here as often as I would like. Chef Francesco Costanzo incorprates influences from his native Sicily into his trattoria fare, and it’s all just plain delicious. This chitarre with cream of broccoli, anchovies and toasted bread crumbs made my heart sing. I wanted a second helping, but was too embarassed to ask. Plus, I was saving room for dessert in the form of a pumpkin cheesecake with chocolate, a dolce that I also couldn’t get enough of . (Pastamadre; Via Bernardino Corio, 8; + 39 02 5519 0020; no website)

3) Pizza with broccoli, caramelized lemon peel and fior di latte at Dry

I have a bit of a podcast obsesssion, one of which is Desert Island Discs, and I had listened to Yotam Ottolenghi’s tht very morning. Ottolenghi chose a lemon tree for his luxury item because he finds this beloved citrus fruit to have endless possiblities. Well, lemons just happen to be one of my all-time favorite flavors, which I also love it with pasta.  Anyhoo, I’m digressing. So, when I read broccoli pizza with caramelized lemon peel, I took Ottolenghi’s interview as a sign that I needed to eat it. And Dry just always does pizz right. (Dry, Via Solferino 33, +39 02 6379 3414; Viale Vittorio Veneto 28, +39 02 6347 1564, website)


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