Broccoli al Limone


Broccoli al Limone-2

Broccoli al Limone

Over the Summer I was reading Emiko Davis’ beautiful book ‘Aquacotta – Recipes of Tuscany’s Secret Silver Coast’.

Her ‘Spaghetti al Limone’ really captured my imagination.

Not because I’m that into pasta any more.

But the idea of a fresh zesty, creamy cheesey sauce?

Now that sounded amazing.

So of course I had to try it with broccoli.

And of course I had to say ‘broccoli al limone’ in my best Italian accent.

Which, truth be told, is terrible.

But still fun.

Enough for: 2
Takes: 15 minutes
Net Carbs: 22g / serve

2 heads broccoli (approx 300g / 10.5oz each)
4 tablespoons lemon juice
zest 1 lemon
4 tablespoons double or heavy cream
2 handfuls grated parmesan (approx 50g / 2oz) + extra shaved parm to serve
small bunch basil leaves

1. Bring 1cm (1/2in) deep salted water to the boil in a medium saucepan. Chop broccoli into bite sized trees and slice the stems.

2. Pop chopped broccoli into the pot and cover with a lid. Simmer rapidly for 5 minutes. Drain.

3. Return the saucepan to the heat with the lemon juice and zest and simmer for 3-4 minutes to reduce the quantity by about half.

4. Add drained broccoli to the pan with the cream and grated parmesan. Stir and bring back to a simmer.

5. Remove from the heat. Taste and season with salt as needed. Or a little extra cream if it’s too sour for you.

6. Divide between two bowls and top with shaved parmsean and basil leaves.

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pantry-friendly – frozen broccoli. Basil = pesto

Keto / ultra low carb – replace 1/2 broccoli with baby spinach leaves and serve the lemony spinach with pan fried chicken breasts.

dairy-free – replace cream with coconut cream. And replace cheese with roast pine nuts or roast shaved coconut.

different cheese – parmesan is always a good idea but you could mix things up with ricotta, salty feta, cheddar or soft goats cheese.

more substantial (carb lovers) – cooked pasta!

more substantial (low carb) – this is a pretty light meal so consider extra parmesan, extra cream, avocado, roast macadamias or almonds, or a big dollop of Pesto.

low FODMAP – see the keto option.

different vegetables – so many ideas! Roast mushrooms, roast eggplant or zucchini, cauliflower, shaved cabbage, roast sweet potato, cooked greens, cooked chickpeas, cooked lentils, steamed asparagus, steamed snow peas. And wilted greens. Also thinking the sauce would be lovely massaged into raw kale.

more protein – serve with cooked chicken, canned tuna, sardines, mackerel, smoked herrings, fried egg, poached eggs, an omelette, pork sausages.

more fancy / for entertaining – serve it as a side for a simple roast chook or try one of either the ‘more substantial’ or ‘more protein’ options.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

broccoli – will keep wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Can be frozen (if you have time chop before freezing so it will defrost quickly in the pan).

lemon – whole lemon will keep wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge for months.

cream – unopened cartons will generally keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. If you need to store for longer, just pop in the freezer in a sealed container.

parmesan – wrap in baking paper and store in the fridge in a sealed paper bag or airtight container. Will keep for months. Can be frozen if you’re going away.

basil – make basil oil by packing washed and dried leaves in a clean jar and covering with extra virgin olive oil. Or you can freeze the leaves, they’ll wilt but will still be delicious.

Prepare Ahead

Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the basil and cheese separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, warm in a pan with a little oil. Add cheese and serve with basil and extra cheese as per the recipe.

Broccoli al Limone-3

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Weinberger May 28, 2020

Made this with some cooked sausage on the side. I didn’t know how to do lemon zest though. Also, I want to boil the broccoli in unsalted water because the parmesan made it too salty. This is going into the favorites.


jules May 28, 2020

Glad it’s going to the favourites Paul!

The easiest way to do lemon zest is to use a microplane grater and just grate the yellow surface off the outside of the lemon.

Or you can buy a little zester which makes cute little strips – I have one but I use my mircoplane grater more.

If you have a box grater with the little knobbly bits (not the cheese grater side) you can use it for zest as well.

Salting the water helps keep the broccoli colour bright green – but if you want to keep salt down, a little bit will work.

Just don’t leave it out all together.


Mark Chapman May 24, 2020

I boiled the broccoli (1 head) with ~ 1/8 of a head of cauliflower that I had left over, where I would normally microwave the same, then decanted the cooking water into another pot to cook pasta. I then fried two large mushrooms in the first pot before adding and reducing the lemon juice (from one lemon – I could almost have done with two), and further added a tin of chick peas and some of the aquafaba therein. Quite nice, but the brassica seemed to absorb everything I threw at it, even 50g of left-over feta in addition to the Parmesan.


jules May 24, 2020

Sounds lovely Mark!

LOve that you used the cooking water for the pasta too


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