My Romance with Romanesca

romanesca Before there weather became unforgivably cold and the earth a barren desolate land; I would frequent the farmers market  to gaze upon the fresh local produce and flirt with the possibilities of my next meal.  On one random day I ran across a rare find; which to the naked eye was clearly cousin to the cauliflower.  I moved in closer to get a good look and the farmer- who I learned was named “Tijo”.   “Romanesca!” he called out.   So I took the time to introduce myself to my new found friend and proceeded to ask him more about my new find. I was infatuated by its beauty, and ordered up two heads of Romanesca plus a branch of Brussels Sprouts (which were still in place).  After receiving some cooking tips from Tijo, I made a bee line to the train. I had a few stops to make before I could experiment with the Romanesca. But I could tell that   this was the start of a great day.

Tijo pic White Plains Farmers Market

Farmer Tijo

When I arrived home, I cleaned up the Romanesca,and, Brussels Sprouts  sauteed them with cremini mushrooms, garlic and drizzled them with white truffle oil and sea salt.  Delicious!  (See Pic Below) sauteed romanesca

fresh broccoli from the garden

fresh broccoli from the garden

As always I had to do a bit of research.  What i found out was that Romanesca  hails from Italy, has a more delicate flavor than our more commonly known cauliflower and can be cooked, or eaten raw the very same way.  Romanesca is also high in vitamin C, easily digestible, low in fiber, rich in mineral salts and beta carotene.  And like Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, and Cauliflower are what are known as  cruciferous vegetables which are known to lower your risk of cancer. As you can already tell….Romanesca has all of the qualities worth building a romance on.  Find some at your local market (when the weather isn’t so God forsaken), and try out the recipe I’ve tacked on.  Enjoy in good health! Cheers, Chef Will Hall Roasted Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce

Roasted Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce

Serves 4

30 minutes or fewer

An avid cook and enthusiastic eater, Tim Miano says his experiments in the kitchen aren’t always successful. But he hit the mark with this delicious side dish that is deceptively simple—our judges were wowed by its speed, ease and incredible flavor. The sauce uses tahini, a Mediterranean paste of ground sesame seeds that can be found in most supermarkets. 1st Place, 2006 recipe contest.
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (about 1 ½ lb.)
  • 4 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
  • 2 Tbs. tahini
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
1. Place oven rack in top position. Preheat oven to 425°F. 2. Toss cauliflower with 2 tsp. olive oil, and season with salt. Spread on large cookie sheet, and bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until cauliflower is fork-tender and slightly browned. 3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tsp. olive oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Sauté garlic in oil 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Stir in tahini, lemon juice, 5 Tbs. water, and salt. Simmer over low heat 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. 4. Divide cauliflower among plates. Whisk sauce, then spoon over cauliflower. Sprinkle with parsley and sesame seeds, and serve.

Citations: Elaine Magee, MPH, RDWebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature. (n.d.). The Super-Veggies: Cruciferous Vegetables. Retrieved February 3, 2015, from Food Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2015, from Roasted Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2015, from Romanesco. (2009, September 14). Retrieved February 3, 2015, from


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