When my son was a toddler, we used to go to California Pizza Kitchen for lunch. The big dish with the preschool group was spaghetti with broccoli. The kids got such a kick out of calling it “Snakes and Trees” and they ordered it every week. It probably started because someone thought if they gave lunch a cute name, the kids were more likely to eat it. Jake loved the Spaghetti and Broccoli at CPK, but at home, wouldn’t go near my broccoli. Unfortunately, even calling it “trees” didn’t move broccoli off of his plate and into his mouth. Turns out, Jake liked broccoli, he just didn’t like mine.
As my interest in cooking grew, I learned various techniques to make vegetables. Looking back, Jake was right. My broccoli was awful. It was overcooked, soft, and this horrible shade of green. I basically steamed this poor vegetable within an inch of its life. Honestly, there is nothing worse than soggy, overdone broccoli. No wonder my kids refused to eat it. Jake and Lily, I’m sorry for trying to get you to eat dark green mush. Good on you for knowing better.
When I started roasting broccoli, my kids couldn’t get enough. They love those brown, caramelized, crispy edges and actually fought over who would get the last bits on the serving platter. I know cooking broccoli seems like such an easy task but since I did it incorrectly for so many years, I thought I would share this basic technique with you. The simplest things in cooking deserve proper time and care in execution. Here’s how I make Roasted Broccoli for my family.
See how the broccoli isn’t crowded on the pan? You want to give the vegetables a little breathing space so it cooks properly. If you pile the broccoli on the sheet tray, it will steam instead of roast. Not what we want!
- 1-2 bunch Broccoli
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Pepper
- Preheat Oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut Broccoli florets into same size pieces. Leave about an inch of stem on each floret. Place broccoli on sheet pan leaving space between each piece of broccoli so that air can circulate. Drizzle oil on broccoli and toss. Just a drizzle - you don't want to soak the broccoli. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Toss.
- Roast for 20 minutes until broccoli is crisp tender with brown edges.
*Making more than one tray of broccoli? I rotate the top sheet and the bottom sheet during cooking.
*Want to jazz it up? When broccoli is cooked, you can hit it with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. You could also add a little bit of grated parmesan or sprinkle toasted pine nuts on top. Chef's choice.