With vegetable names like Costata Romanesco Zucchini and Broccolini, it doesn’t get any more Italian than that! Or does it? Granted, Costata Romanesco is native to Renaissance Rome. Moreover, Italians bred zucchini from squash during America’s colonial times. However, summer squash actually dates back to 550 B.C.E. Central and South America. Broccolini’s origins are even more convoluted and interesting. Surprisingly, a Japanese seed company bred an unlikely pair – broccoli with Chinese kale – to create broccolini.
You don’t have to be Italian to enjoy these heirloom gems. Read on to learn more about these delicious local additions to Martindale’s cache of organic produce.
Costata Romanesco Zucchini
Unlike its cousin, zucchini, this heirloom summer squash is medium green with pale green flecks and raised ribs. It also has a more distinctive, sweet and nutty flavor. Costata Romanesco is a good source of dietary fiber and contains Vitamins C, A and B6 as well as folate, manganese and riboflavin. Cut it into slices to create a pretty, scalloped design. For a delicious, beautiful side dish, fry the young squash whole with the flower still attached.
This lovely squash is also wonderful raw, steamed, sautéed or grilled. Delizioso!
Compared to broccoli, broccolini’s taste is mild, peppery and subtlety sweet. It’s also more versatile than broccoli, bred to be more tender and able to stand higher temperatures. Nutritionally, a serving of broccolini packs a whopping 195 percent of Vitamin C, 30 percent of Vitamin A, calcium, iron and even protein. Broccolini adapts well to any cooking method: saute, steam, roast, grill or fry it. Try serving it alone as an appetizer or add it to pasta, risotto or pizza. Marry it with butter, olive oil, lemon, lime, garlic, tomatoes or chiles. For added flavor, top it with hard cheeses such as Parmesan or pecorino.
Recipe: Ravioli Salad with Broccolini, Sweet Potatoes, Feta and Harissa
Are you hungry now? Try this amazing Ravioli Salad with Broccolini, Sweet Potatoes, Feta and Harissa from “Eats Well with Others.”