Broccolini is one of those vegetables that lends itself well to almost any meal. Roasting it quickly in a hot oven makes it deliciously crisp-tender and sweet, and it can be seasoned to match any cuisine. For this roasted broccolini with parmesan-pine nut pangritata, I add a crunchy, rich breadcrumb topping that takes it really over-the-top! It’s quick and easy enough for weeknights or fancy enough for your next dinner party.
Broccolini is as dependable a harbinger of spring as the robins at my bird feeder. You can find it in grocery stores year round, of course, but it’s not widely available in winter and the price goes up to reflect that. Thankfully this recipe also works with regular broccoli, so I tend to stick to that until spring, when I’m first in line to pick up freshly-harvested bunches of broccolini from my local farmers’ market.
Roasting is by far my favorite way to cook broccolini. It’s actually perfectly fine just with olive oil, salt, and pepper, but my family are huge fans of this breadcrumb preparation. The crunchy bread crumbs add texture, while the pine nuts add healthy fats and richness, and the parm gives it all that sharp/salty yum that it’s so famous for. This dish would be a great side for my sear-roasted halibut with macadamia nut pesto.
Pile on the crunch with pangritata
Did you know the Italians have a really awesome word for breadcrumbs? Pangritata! I’ve been saying it all week to my family, who just roll their eyes at me (all while enjoying the pangritata in question). The pangritata in this dish is a step above your regular breadcrumb topping, with rich pine nuts and sharp cheese, a bit of herbiness, and healthy olive oil to add crunch. They add a ton flavor and texture to this already delicious roasted broccolini.
I’ve made this dish with fresh breadcrumbs, panko, and pre-made grocery store breadcrumbs. I’ll be honest, while there was no wrong option here, it was the store-bought breadcrumbs that turned out the best! I was a little relieved, because it meant I could keep this recipe that much simpler. My go-to breadcrumbs are whole wheat breadcrumbs from Simple Truth Organics. They can be found at grocery stores in the Kroger chain.
Add flavor and nutrition with pine nuts
Pine nuts are AWESOME...one of my favorite ingredients, if you haven’t guessed by now. They not only add incredible flavor to any dish, they are also packed with nutrients. Fiber, iron, potassium, niacin, magnesium, calcium, there’s a lot packed into these tiny little nuts. They are an excellent source of healthy fats, which studies show can contribute to heart health and improve glycemic control.
I know pine nuts can be expensive. I buy mine at Costco, and the bag I get usually lasts for 6 months. It helps that pine nuts pack a big flavor punch, so even just a small amount makes a big difference in any dish. The other option that I’ve used when I can’t get to Costco is to buy pine nuts from the bulk foods section at my grocery store, that way you can buy just what you need for an individual recipe.
Tips for perfect roasted broccolini with parmesan pangritata
- Dry off those veggies! One of the keys to getting roasted broccolini a little crispy around the edges is to make sure they are perfectly dry before adding them to the pan. Once you wash your broccolini, dry it off well with a paper towel and let it air dry for a bit before using.
- Finely chop your pine nuts. I typically use my Pampered Chef food chopper or my Ninja Express Chop to get my pine nuts to the texture I want. The pieces should be a little bigger than a grain of kosher salt. Getting them nice and fine helps distribute their delicious toasty/nutty flavor throughout the breadcrumbs.
- Get creative with your pangritata. This is an extremely versatile recipe, and it will work with different combinations of nuts, cheeses and herbs. My favorite variation so far has been chopped walnuts with pecorino Romano and rosemary. Use whatever you have on hand!
When you are selecting broccolini, look for bright green, firm stems, tightly-furled heads with no flowers. Make sure the cut ends are not dry. Wash and dry well, then trim the ends before cooking. The leaves are edible and full of nutrients, so I leave them on.
The broccolini and the breadcrumbs can both be prepped in advance, simply add the olive oil just before cooking. I love eating this dish as leftovers too! Your roasted broccolini will keep in the refrigerator in a sealed container for 3-4 days. The breadcrumbs won't stay crunchy, but they'll still taste good.
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Roasted Broccolini with Parmesan-Pine Nut Breadcrumbs
- 2 bunches broccolini (purple sprouted broccoli or regular broccoli may be substituted, see notes)
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon white or black pepper, or to taste
For the pangritata:
- ¼ cup pine nuts, finely chopped or pulsed 3-4 times in a mini food processor
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1-2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425°.
- Lay the broccolini out on a sheet pan in a single layer. Drizzle the olive oil all over and toss with the broccolini to coat. Season them with salt and pepper, and give them one more toss. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes (20 minutes for thicker stems).
- While the broccolini is roasting, mix together all of the ingredients for the topping. When the 20 minutes is up, pull out the sheet pan (close the oven to preserve the heat) and sprinkle the broccolini with the topping. Place back in the oven for 4-5 minutes, until the bread cribs are crisp and nicely browned.
- Use a spatula to transfer the broccolini to a serving platter. Scoop the remaining toasted bread crumbs from the pan and sprinkle on top of the broccoli. Finish with a few cranks from your pepper grinder.
- This recipe works with broccolini, sprouted broccoli, regular broccoli, or even asparagus.
- If you use regular broccoli, try to find bunches with longer stems. Trim the stem end and cut all the way down as you separate the florets to create a “trunk” on each piece. Broccoli stem is delicious! It’ll cook up crisp-tender and sweet.
- If you only have shredded parmesan cheese on hand, finely chop it on your cutting board so it mixes in better with the breadcrumbs and chopped pine nuts.
- Pine mouth is a condition caused by pine nuts that causes everything you eat to taste metallic for a short period of time. It is rare, but it is a concern, so I recommend looking for pine nuts that are either domestic or imported from Europe or the Middle East.