“Oh my God,” said my dad. “This is the best broccoli I’ve ever had in my life.” Later he said: “If parents made this broccoli for their kids, kids wouldn’t hate broccoli. They’d beg for it.”
Preheat oven to 425.
Take 4 to 5 pounds of broccoli (we just got two large bunches), cut into florets (but relatively big ones.) Here’s the key - dry them THOROUGHLY. That is, if you wash them. I saw an episode of Julia Child cooking with Jacques Pepin once when Pepin revealed he doesn’t wash a chicken before putting it in a hot oven: “The heat kills all the germs,” he said in his French accent. “If bacteria could survive that oven, it deserves to kill me.” By that logic, then, I didn’t wash my broccoli; I wanted it to get crispy and brown. If you’re nervous, though, just wash and dry it obsessively.
Now, it’s easy. Put the broccoli on a cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. (5 Tbs olive oil, 1 1/2 tsps kosher salt, 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper, but I just eyeballed it.) Now add 4 garlic cloves that are peeled and sliced and toss them in too.
Roast in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, until “crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.”
When it’s done, take it out of the oven–and here’s where it gets really good–zest a lemon over the broccoli, squeeze the juice of one lemon over the broccoli, add 1.5 Tbs more olive oil, 3 Tbs toasted pine nuts, 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and 2 Tbs julienned fresh basil.