Alice Waters’ Long-Cooked Broccoli
1 1/2 pounds broccoli
1/4 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Pinch of dried chili flakes
A few good pinches of salt
1 cup water
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 to 4 tablespoons grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, optional
To prepare the broccoli, cut the florets into small pieces. Trim the ends off the stems. Peel the stems with a paring knife and thinly slice.
In a medium pot with a heavy bottom, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the broccoli, garlic, chili flakes and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, until the garlic is very fragrant. Add the water and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to maintain a bare simmer, cover the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally until the broccoli is very tender and falling apart, about an hour. You may need to add more water if the broccoli starts to dry out. After an hour or so, stir vigorously with a spoon to create the texture of a coarse purée. Stir in the lemon juice and zest and the cheese if using. Serve as a bed for grilled fish, shellfish or chicken, as a side dish, mixed with brown rice or pasta, or as a topping for crostini.