If this is your first time seeing Romanesca you might think it beamed here with the Kohlrabi and the Patty Pan Squash in some alien vessel – a Romulan Star Ship of sorts. Yes, I could definitely see the Romulans sitting down to a plate of Romanesca!
Honestly it hails from Italy, and is a member of the brassica family in the same group with broccoli, cauliflower making it an edible flower but with more striking and unusual fractal patterns in the flower head.
You can use it as you would broccoli or cauliflower but the flavor is generally the sweeter of the three when picked at its prime and roasted it seems to intensify the flavor. I replaced broccoli with Romanesca in this recipe and it exceeded our expectations. Very easy and went great with some brown basmati rice. If you are a vegetarian, just eliminate the shrimp and cut the olive oil down to 2 tablespoons.
1 – 2 lbs of Romanesca, cut into bite-size florets
1.5 lbs of large raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp chili powder
3 cloves of garlic, minced
dash of sea salt
fresh ground pepper
1 tsp lemon zest
1-2 tsp Sriracha sauce
juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, toss Romanesca with 2 tablespoons olive oil, coriander, cumin, chili powder and 2 cloves of minced garlic. In a separate bowl, combine shrimp, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 garlic clove, lemon zest, Sriracha sauce, and sea salt and pepper.
Spread Romanesca on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Add shrimp and combine with Romanesca. Roast for 10 minutes, then toss, and roast for another 10 minutes or until shrimp are just opaque and Romanesca is tender and starting to brown. Toss with lemon juice before serving.