Romanesco -- what an obscure and ridiculously mundane name for a vegetable of this ornate type.
What comes to mind when one says romanesco has little to do with a lovely green vegetable that carries a lineage with broccoli and cauliflower that, upon itself, duplicates such a gorgeous and complex ripple.
But, alas, romanesco is the name of this beautifully-shaped green.
When I first saw romanesco, I felt it was the manifestation of a mathematical equation in vegetable form. It is a food item that is deserving of inspection; its look alone is deserving of serious inquiry. Why does it look that way? Why does it replicate itself like it is some crazed bacteria? What is its taste?
I can tell you: it tastes much like cauliflower, but a bit more green. I understand that this is not the most involved description, but I am not sure how else to describe it. Romanesco really tastes like cauliflower.
Almost, almost to the exact.
Why the fascination, then?
I can only deduct reason that we are drawn to beautiful things; to lovely things presented in order.
Romanesco, I am sure, speaks to our biological desires. It evokes the cardinal want to catalog, categorize and to neatly order -- particularity those things in the natural world; those things that seem unbridled and disorderly. The romanesco presents itself, almost, as pure perfection. Curious thing, that is.
So while it is not at all different from the cauliflower in taste, you had better be ready to spend nearly $4 a pound (at least in Tucson) for this little bundle. Is it worth it? No, I say! Just buy the cauliflower.
But for the sake of the challenge, this is what I did:
I roasted the romanesco with olive oil and a tinge of salt for a good 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
This felt terrible. Just terrible. But I chopped up the romanesco for the filling. Honestly, I felt I was doing a bad deed. You cannot even tell how wondrous and lovely romanesco looks here. So, so sad.
Ah well. I then prepped large pasta shells and the items for stuffing.
Then, into the shells went the mixture. I then baked the shells on 350 for about 10 minutes.
I just wanted to get the pastas warm for the plating. Meanwhile, I had prepped the white sauce. I began with onions cooking at a slow heat in a pot with olive oil. I crushed some fresh garlic -- about five cloves -- and cooked this further.
I then removed the base from the pot, added some butter and a bit of flour and, on a very low heat, cooked this for several minutes. I then added small pours of milk until it began to turn into a sauce. At that point, I added all the lovely greens that I had chopped up earlier.
The pasta shells were done at this point. Thank goodness for perfect timing!
I like the look of this dish, but given that it does not play up the look -- or the cost -- of romanesco, I was not overly satisfied. It is true: it could have simply used cauliflower.
Who's That Girl
- Create. Snap. Eat.
- WHO'S THAT GIRL: A higher education obsessed foodie who is documenting her life in the kitchen. I love to cook delicious, gourmet-style foods for those I love and always welcome a challenge in the kitchen. With that challenge comes an impromptu nature. I tend to avoid following recipes to the exact, so you are not likely to find very many posted here. Being that I am a Libra and am learning to be free in the kitchen, the story always goes, "A pinch of this and a smattering of that!" Thank you for visiting -- and happy reading!
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