Romanesco has been consumed in the Roman countryside for centuries. The shape is that of a cauliflower, but the buds are bright green.

romanesco broccoli
Romanesco Broccoli - Photo: Unsplash - Steven Lasry

The Italians have been cultivating them since the 16th century, although they remain something of a rarity in the US. In 1834, the poet Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli, who composed his verses in the Roman dialect, wrote in his sonnet Er Testamento Der Pasqualino, about a farmer named Torzetto who cultivated and traded his own Romanesco.

The vegetable is loaded with vitamins C and K. It’s also rich in fiber, protective carotenoids and a set of phytochemicals that may protect our bodies against molecular degeneration. The iron and folate in Romanesco are known to boost red blood cell production, and even aid in reproductive health. Some claim it to be tastier than cauliflower or broccoli, but is cooked the same way, either by steaming or baking.

"Romanesco" from planting to harvesting ...

Seeds for Romanesco can be ordered from Seeds of Italy.