Drunken Broccoli – Flavia’s Favourite

We had a very nice young couple come to visit us last weekend from Bologna, Flavia and Gabriele.  I had met Flavia last year, she and my husband were part of the same team organising an event called ‘Festival della Medicina’.  The event proved so successful and popular that it is being sequelled this year and my husband pops up to Bologna not infrequently for meetings and all the rigmarole and networking and preparation and background due diligence that an event such as this occasions.  Anyway, the long and the short of it is that he invited Flavia and her husband to spend a weekend with us so they could take some time off and visit Rome.  For my part, I wanted to prepare some food that would be typically Roman for them to enjoy.  Bologna is big on food as we all know (!), so there was an impish part of me that wanted to show them that Lazio is no slouch in the cuisine department … and what better way to wow them than with artichokes, carciofi, that are at their peak just now?

Good move on my part, no surprise there.  I fried some slices of artichoke dipped in flour and beaten eggs (carciofi fritti dorati alla romana) and also cooked carciofi alla romana.  I also made a simple recipe colloquially called ‘broccoli ‘mbriachi’, i.e. drunken broccoli.  The reason for the sobriquet is naturally to be sought in the addition of wine to the cooking process.  And it is a typical dish of the Castelli Romani area, where we live.  When I was at the greengrocer’s, the  Masi family-run shop in Frascati, their daughter told me that her mother made the best broccoli mbriachi with an emphatic appreciation that was difficult to ignore.  This not unnaturally aroused my curiosity and made me venture to enquire further.

And that is when I discovered that I had been making this recipe all ‘wrong’ all the time!  I used to simmer the broccoli for a bit and then add the wine.  Uh uh, that is not the way.  The broccoli need to be cooked in the wine from the very start. What an aha! moment for me.

The other aha! surprise was that this dish turned out be Flavia’s favourite (not that she didn’t like the carciofi).  So there you are, you live and you learn.  Always.  Thank goodness!  How boring otherwise it would be.

Here is the recipe, if you’d like to make it.  Easy.  Olive oil, garlic, salt and red wine.  And the dish takes one whole hour to cook, from start to finish (so much longer than I thought it would take!).  Tastes excellent the day after too.  Just saying …

And here is a link to the Festival : http://www.bolognamedicina.it/eng/

IMG_4598 Cut the broccoli into florets.
IMG_4600 Then, roughly slice the florets.IMG_4601Dribble (my new word … apparently ‘drizzle’ is rubbish, and we’ve all being saying ‘drizzle’ for so long now, but it’s just plain ‘wrong’.  The rain drizzles.  When we pour a larger quantity than the rain that drizzles, then what we are in fact doing is ‘dribbling’.  Except, and I don’t know about you, the word ‘dribble’ makes me think of people or children who can’t keep their saliva in their mouths, not at all attractive, if you know what I mean). Where was I ? oh yes.  Dribble a good amount of olive oil, add plenty of garlic (the more garlic cooks, the less pungent it becomes, so have no fear) and … if you like a bit of spice … do add some chilli flakes.
IMG_4602 Turn on the heat and cook the garlic until it goes golden in colour and then add the sliced broccoli florets.  Cook them like this for a minute or two …IMG_4603 IMG_4604 Have some red wine at the ready …IMG_4605 And pour a prodigious amount over the broccoli.  The wine has to cover the broccoli completely.  We are sozzling here, folks!  That’s the spirit!  And do sprinkle some salt.  No salt, no taste.IMG_4606 Cover with a lid and cook over a medium flame.
IMG_4608 This is what it looked like after 30 minutes.  Exactly the same, to be honest.  But I added a bit more wine.  And continued to cook it with the lid on.

IMG_4612 And this is what it looked like after one hour.  The consistency was fork tender, just this side of ‘mushy’.  This is how it is supposed to be, by the way! Non of this ‘crisp’ vegetable stuff.
IMG_4615 IMG_4616And … as I say .. Flavia couldn’t get enough of this drunken veggie!

IMG_4619I couldn’t resist inserting this photo of a lonesome carciofo alla romana standing to attention … looks rather like it could be part of the candle stick, tee hee.

11 thoughts on “Drunken Broccoli – Flavia’s Favourite

  1. Ciao Jo, this delicious way to prepare broccolo romano reminds me of the way bastaddu (its Sicilian cousin) is prepared in Sicily, with the addition of onions, anchovy and pecorino (bastaddu affucatu).
    After all the comments I got on my presentation of asparagus and goat cheese soup, I must say your photo of that carciofo is even more suggestive 😉

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  2. I really must try this! But I am rather upset by this dribble business. As far as I’ve ever heard, you dribble a basketball, that’s it! Frankly, when applied to food, it sounds rather gross…

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    1. Well, with all due respect to Fort on Food, s/he’s wrong. The misty rain is only one of several meanings:

      verb: drizzle; 3rd person present: drizzles; past tense: drizzled; past participle: drizzled; gerund or present participle: drizzling
      1. rain lightly.
      “it’s started to drizzle”
      synonyms: rain lightly, shower, spot, spit, sprinkle
      “it’s beginning to drizzle”

      2. trickle a thin stream of (a liquid ingredient) over food.
      “drizzle the clarified butter over the top”
      synonyms: trickle, drip, dribble, pour, splash, sprinkle
      “drizzle the cream over the fruit”

      3. cause a liquid ingredient to trickle over (food) in this way.
      “raspberries drizzled with melted chocolate”

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      1. Not ‘wrong’ as such … just choosy … cos ‘dribble’ does appear in the synonyms that you put up. Anyway … playing around with words is fun. Maybe you and I should come up with a new verb for this? Go on … I dare you! 🙂

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  3. A new way to cook one of my favorite veggies. Oh how I wish they sold artichokes here with their long stems instead of cutting them off to a short stub.

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