chili & pecorino roasted broccoli

Let’s get the apology for that photo out of the way at first. I can’t tell you how many times I’m making something at night, and don’t bother to share it here simply because the lighting is not suited for photography. Last night, though, I cooked up a head of broccoli that made me fall in love with it all over again. Now, love and broccoli are two words you don’t necessarily see together in the same sentence. I mean, it’s broccoli. Either you like it or you don’t; perhaps tolerate would be the better choice of words when it comes to my children. But, love?

I stopped at the little market to pick up fixings for mac n’ cheese, and swung through the produce aisle to look for some veggie inspiration. As I turned the corner, there it was. A big box of broccoli crowns for only 79 cents a pound. The combination of a stellar price, and the fact that it looked so beautiful made it to hard to pass them up. I knew immediately that I wanted to up my broccoli game that night. The girls haven’t been into it lately, so I was going to make a broccoli side that I wanted to eat, casting their plain jane taste preferences aside.

Pecorino Roasted Broccoli 01

Heat was the first thing that popped into my mind; spice, that is, not the cooking method. I’d already decided I would roast it to coax out some of it’s nutty flavors. A sprinkling of Korean chili flakes, generous handful of fresh grated Pecorino, were the stars, with some help from olive oil, salt, and pepper. I roasted it just long enough to be fork-tender, but still have a little bit of bite. My, oh my. I’m so smitten with this preparation, I can’t wait to get home and eat the leftovers straight from the fridge (though I bet they would be a nice addition to fried rice, too).

Seven Years Ago: Spur of the Moment Kale Soup

Six Years Ago: Preparing Dry Lentils

Five Years Ago: Cheddar Rye Muffins

Four Years Ago: Chocolate Pistachio Madeleines

Three Years Ago: Perfect Roasted Potatoes

Two Years Ago: A Simple Roast Chicken

One Year Ago: Naughty & Nice Smashed Avocado Toasts

Chili & Pecorino Roasted Broccoli

Serves 2 to 4, depending on size of head (and how much you love broccoli!)

Now, I used broccoli crowns to make this, but I can tell you it was about the same amount from a full head of broccoli. If you go the whole head route, save the bottom, larger stalks for another use. They make a great slaw. If you do decide to use the bottom stalks, this is my advice. Cut them into rounds, no more than 1/4-inch thick, so they cook evenly with the florets.

You’ll see this isn’t a recipe so much as it’s a suggestion. I’ve kept all the measurements loose, so you can add as much or as little of them as you want. Just go light on the olive oil. You want enough to barely coat the broccoli. The broccoli will release some its liquid as it roasts, so you want to go light on the oil to avoid making it soggy. You can always finish it with a drizzle of olive oil before serving if you feel it’s too dry.

1 head of broccoli, cut up (save bottom stalks for another use)

Extra virgin olive oil

Korean chili flakes, to taste

Freshly grated Pecorino-Locatelli cheese, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

Sea salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).

Spread the broccoli into a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle chili flakes and Pecorino on top. Season with black pepper and salt (but remember the Pecorino is salty, too). Bake for 20 minutes, or until the broccoli is to desired tenderness, and cheese is golden. Serve hot.


  • Stephanie

    I just discovered cookie broccoli like this and my 8 year old son can not get enough! He would eat 2 whole crowns if I let him. I prepared mine with just salt pepper and oil … So good 🙂
    Ps love from Frederick, Md we just moved from gaithersburg2 years ago. I am also a native long islander…. Welcome!

  • LeAnne

    Hi Jennie,
    A heads up that the link to the Perfect Roasted Potatoes at the bottom actually links to the Chocolate Pistachio Madeleines right above it. Though both are more than welcome in my kitchen.

  • Natalie

    Made this with a friend today–totally amazing, I’m already planning on making it again later this week. And perfect for a college student without a lot of time or fancy equipment/ingredients. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • sue

    Jennifer, one of my favorite foods is broccoli. I simply zap it in the microwave until it’s crisp tender, then drizzle a little olive oil over it and sprinkle with garlic salt. When I serve it to guests it’s always devoured and I’m inevitably asked for the recipe!! Try it sometime. You’ll love it like that, especially if you’re a broccoli lover.