Four delicious ways to use a bounty of brassicas

Penne with purple cauliflower, spinach and Parmesan

Difficulty: easy

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2


150-200g penne (we usually go for 100g person)

1 small head purple cauliflower, broken up into small florets

1/4 cup frozen spinach

2 small cloves garlic

1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for sprinkling


Cook pasta according to the instructions on the packet and add the cauliflower to the pasta pot halfway through the cooking time. Set aside, reserving a tbsp or so of pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, gently heat the olive oil in a pan with the frozen spinach. Do not add frozen spinach to very hot oil as this may cause the oil to spit. Cook until the spinach has thawed and is warmed through. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the oil, garlic and spinach mixture to the pasta and stir. Add the Parmesan and salt & pepper and give the pasta another good stir. Serve immediately, topped with more grated Parmesan.

Lentil dahl with Romanesco broccoli Dahl

Difficulty: easy

Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4-6


• 1 cup yellow lentils

• 1 onion finely chopped

• 2 cloves garlic

• 1 tbsp curry powder (I used medium)

• 1 tsp chilli flakes

• 1 tsp turmeric

• 1 x 400g can coconut milk

• 1 tbsp olive oil


Add the oil onions to pan over medium heat and cook until onions are translucent. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 40 minutes or until all the water has absorbed and the lentils are tender. Meanwhile, cook the appropriate number of servings per person of basmati or long grain rice according to the instructions on the packet.

With five minutes to go, add two tbsp olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Add two tbsp mustard seeds to the oil and a couple of bird’s eye chillies and/ or fresh curry leaves, if using.

To serve, spoon the Dahl over a portion of rice and top with a drizzle of the mustard seed oil, chillies and/ or curry leaves.

Cauliflower and Porcini mushroom penne & cheese bake

Difficulty: medium

Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 200g porcini mushrooms, soaked and roughly chopped
  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped
  • 500g penne, cooked according to instructions on the packet
  • 50g flour
  • 50g butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 8×8”/ 20x20mm glass baking dish
  • Roughly 1 cup grated cheddar plus more for topping
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes (optional)


Cook the penne according to the instructions on the packet and set aside, reserving half a cup of pasta water. Meanwhile, add the cauliflower and soaked Porcini mushrooms to a pan over medium heat. When the cauliflower begins to soften (after around 5 minutes, add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Set aside.

To make the cheese sauce:

Add the butter to a large deep saucepan or casserole and gently heat until melted. Turn the heat up to medium and add the flower, a little bit at a time, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. When all the flower is incorporated and the mixture starts clumping, slowly add the milk whilst whisking constantly. Whisk until no lumps remain. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat. Simmer for 3 – 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Tip the mushroom and cauliflower mixture into the cheese sauce and stir. Add chilli flakes, if using. Pour the cooked pasta into the pot and add a splash of the pasta water. Feel free to add a bit more water if the sauce is too thick.

Spoon pasta into the baking dish and press into the pan with your spoon. Top with grated cheddar and cracked black pepper.

Place the baking dish into the oven on gas mark 7 for around 20-25 minutes, or until bubbling and the top is a light, golden brown.

Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve and enjoy!

Spaghetti with broccoli, lemon & Parmesan

Difficulty: easy

Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4-6


  • 1 small head broccoli, broken up into florets
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 75g pasta per person


Boil enough salted water to cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Add the pasta and garlic clove to the boiling water. With 3-4 minutes cooking time left, add the broccoli florets and cook until bright green but still al dente. Drain but retain some of the cooking water and remove the broccoli and run under cold water to stop cooking. Remove the garlic. Tip the broccoli and garlic into to a blender and add the cheese, lemon juice and zest, a small amount of salt and pepper and blend. Add the broccoli sauce to the pasta and toss well. To serve, drizzle with good quality olive oil and top with cracked black pepper and more grated Parmesan.

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