Baking Broccoli The Italian Way

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - November 26, 2008
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Ed Wary grew up eating Italian-American food. His late mother, Gilda “Nana” Wary, was his inspiration in opening Auntie Pasto’s, which celebrates its 25th anniversary Dec. 7 with a benefit for Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.

Ed, his wife, Tina, and 8-year-old daughter Maddy will be at the popularly priced restaurant on South Beretenia Street to welcome two seatings of guests, who will pay $35 each for the three-course meal that includes one glass of wine. There will be Italian songs performed by Joey Caldarone and plenty of fun surprises in store.

Reservations are being taken at 591-9733.


Here’s to the Wary family, including older children Andrew and Ellie, who are in college on the Mainland. This is one of Nana’s recipes that delighted each of the Wary children. It would be a wonderful side dish for your Thanksgiving meal.

Broccoli is believed to have originated in Southern Italy, and was developed by the Romans from wild cabbage. The word broccoli comes from the Latin word bracchium which means “branch” or “arm,” and refers to the treelike shape of the vegetable. Broccoli is usually green, but can be white or purple.

When purchasing, choose firm and evenly colored broccoli with a compact head and bud clusters. The outer leaves should be a deep green and the stems firm. Avoid yellow or broccoli that has open flowers.

Broccoli should be stored in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator, where it should keep fresh for about five days. It also may be blanched and frozen and should keep for at least six months.

Cooked broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium. It is a good source of folic acid and contains vitamin A, magnesium, pantothenic acid, iron and phosphorus and contains beta-carotenes, which are believed to be anticarcinogenic.


* 1 medium head of broccoli, blanched

* 4 tablespoons mayonnaise (may use lower fat)

* 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

* 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best)

* 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Break blanched broccoli into florets (not too small). Mix mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese together. If using garlic, add the garlic to the mayonnaise as well. Spread mayo mix over the broccoli florets (use your hands, it’s much easier), then put bread crumbs over the florets.

Put florets on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Note: Mix more mayo and cheese, if needed, and add more bread crumbs, if desired.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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