A super easy Italian dish that enhances the flavour of the broccoli and gives you a slightly different way of enjoying it. Known as “Broccoli Ripassati in Padella” in Italy, Italian Fried Broccoli is perfect for all the family to enjoy and very quick to make.
Broccoli is often eaten as a vegetable side dish, accompanying many dishes. It belongs to the cabbage family and can be most commonly found in green and purple sprouting varieties in the UK. Try serving it up with a Turkey en Croute with Cornflour Roast Potatoes on the side, or these Sweet Chilli Salmon Fishcakes.
When we visit our family in Rome, fried broccoli is often found on the table as a side dish for dinner. However, fried Italian Broccoli differs to the usual British or American way of serving it.
The Italian way of preparing broccoli is, by far, our favourite way to enjoy it. It’s full of flavour, easy for everyone to eat, including small children, and accompanies many a main dish as a side, very well.
If you’re tired of eating broccoli in the same old way every time, then this Italian Fried Broccoli recipe is for you.
Why You’ll Love This Italian Broccoli Recipe
- Quick and Easy – It’s ready in under 15 minutes.
- Healthy – You can enjoy a green vegetable side dish that’s full of flavour.
- A new way to enjoy Broccoli – If you’re tired of eating broccoli the same way every time, you need to try this.
- Steamer – Ideally, steaming the broccoli first gives the best results while trapping the nutritional value of it in. You can also boil it if you do not have a steamer.
- Frying Pan – This is the main piece of equipment you need in order to fry the broccoli.
- Fresh Broccoli – Of course, broccoli being the focus of this dish it cannot be substituted. Stick to fresh broccoli where you can. Frozen broccoli florets will also work but may be a little soggier in the final dish. If you use frozen broccoli, pan fry it for a little longer if you find it has a lot of liquid.
- Olive Oil –Being one of the most healthy options of oil to fry food, we recommend sticking to Olive oil. Be sure to use the cooking version and not extra-virgin olive oil.
- Garlic – The garlic cloves are used to add flavour to the olive oil. They are fried whole and discarded before the broccoli is added to the pan.
- Chili Flakes – This is optional, if you prefer a little kick, add some chili flakes. You can also add fresh chilis too.
- Salt and Pepper – We use salt and pepper sparingly to season the dish and enhance the flavour.
Broccoli Ripassati In Padella
So let’s get on to how Italian Fried Broccoli is different. Known in Italy as “Broccoli Ripassati in Padella“, it means Broccoli that is cooked twice. Firstly it is steamed and then sauteed in a pan.
The broccoli is boiled or steamed to the point where is would actually be considered overcooked by British or American standards. It is very soft, making the next step easier.
The soft broccoli is then transferred to a frying pan with olive oil that has been flavoured (usually with garlic and sometimes, chili) and broken up with a spoon or spatula as it is pan-fried.
The small pieces of broccoli become brown and crispy in places and the overall flavour of the dish is enhanced with the garlic oil penetrating the entire dish and not just the outside of the broccoli florets.
It is then seasoned with a little salt and pepper and served hot.
Super simple and ready in less that 15 minutes.
Step-By-Step How To Make Fried Italian Broccoli
Step 1: Prepare the broccoli
- Wash the broccoli head thoroughly under cold running water and pat dry.
- Chop the broccoli into florets, cutting them away from the main, thick stalk.
Step 2: Steam the broccoli
- Place the florets into a steamer and cook over boiling water until they are soft.
- Remove the lid from the steamer and allow the steam to evaporate as you prepare the oil.
Step 3: Fry the broccoli
- In a frying pan, add the olive oil and heat up over a medium heat.
- Peel the garlic clove and add it whole to the oil.
- Fry the garlic in the oil until it turns brown. Remove the garlic and discard.
- If you are adding the chili, do so now and allow it to become aromatic before adding the broccoli.
- Add the broccoli to the pan and begin to break the florets up into smaller pieces using a spatula or wooden spoon.
- Fry the broccoli while stirring to prevent it from sticking to the pan. It will begin to turn brown and crispy in places. When this happens, it is ready to serve.
Step 4: Season and serve
- Season the broccoli with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the broccoli to a serving dish.
- Serve it immediately while still hot.
Boiling broccoli can cause it to lose a lot of its antioxidant properties. Steaming it is preferable as the broccoli will lose a minimal amount in comparison, making it a much healthier way to prepare broccoli.
It’s important to wash Broccoli before boiling or steaming it to remove any pesticides, dirt or insects present on the surface.
Pro Tips and Guidance
- Fresh Broccoli Works Best – You can also use frozen florets if necessary. However, you may find the finished dish is a little more soggy. To rectify this, try frying for a little longer so the excess liquid can evaporate.
- Wash The Broccoli Head Upside Down – Before you prepare the broccoli, washing it upside down allows the water to penetrate it fully and sufficiently rinse any pesticides, dirt or insects away.
- Cut The Florets Into Similar Sized Pieces – This allows it to be steamed evenly so that it cooks in the same amount of time.
Storage and Reheating
- Store: Fried Broccoli can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days in an airtight container. We don’t recommend freezing the fried broccoli once prepared as it may become quite soggy when defrosting.
- Freeze: If you like to make dishes ahead to save on time, you can freeze the broccoli florets after blanching them for a few minutes. This way, you have prepared the dish partway.
- Reheating: To reheat fried broccoli, we recommend doing so in a frying pan. You can add a splash of water if it begins to dry out. Be sure to fry it until its piping hot all the way through.
Check Out These Italian Recipes
A delicious and easy to prepare salad. This salad with toasted walnuts and Parmesan cheese is another classic Italian dish that can be eaten as a side or main meal.
This delicious appetiser served with a creamy tomato sauce, makes a great Italian starter and can be prepared ahead and frozen.
With the Italian tastes of Parmesan and Oregano, these bread rolls can be filled any way you want or served in a bread basket to accompany a meal.
Fried Italian Broccoli
- 2 Heads Broccoli
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- Pinch Chili Flakes, to taste (optional)
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Begin by washing the broccoli thoroughly and dry.
- Remove the florets from the main stalk using a sharp knife. Score the bottom of each floret to help it cook quicker.
- Place the broccoli into a steamer pan.
- Steam the broccoli over boiling water for about 5 minutes until it becomes soft.
- Allow the steam to evaporate so the broccoli isn't too wet.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and place the clove of garlic into the oil. Fry until the garlic clove has browned and then discard.
- Sprinkle in the chilli flakes if you are using them and toast quickly.
- Tip the florets into the pan and break them up using a spatula.
- Stir regularly to ensure the mashed broccoli isn't sticking to the pan.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Once the broccoli begins to brown in places, transfer into a dish and serve immediately.
- Fresh Broccoli works best.
- When washing the broccoli, turn the head upside down to ensure it is all washed properly.
- Cut the broccoli into similar sized pieces to ensure it steams evenly.