Sauteed Broccolini (Spring Broccoli) w/ Garlic and Noodles

Just as the weather starts warming up, our local California farmer's market welcomes the onset of spring with baskets and baskets full of broccolini. 

For a long time I thought broccolini was the young broccoli, just as spring onions are the young onions. Turns out not so per our farmer's market vendor lady who is as knowledgeable about her vegetables as wikipedia, truly, and on top will be more than happy to give you tried and tasted recipes from her kitchen - just in case you need that extra push trying out something unfamiliar.

And she is quite right of-course; broccolini is similar to broccoli but with smaller florets and very thin and long stocks. Wiki pronounces it as a hybrid. It also has a slightly stronger punch than regular broccoli so you may find it slightly bitter if you cook it without steaming first. Steaming takes the edge off of it and it's just delightful steamed and sauteed and finished with a good quality finishing salt.

My favorite way to enjoy broccolini is as a simple side for stir-fried noodles with lots of vegetables. You can use any noodles at hand and even spaghetti works just fine if that's what you have.

To prepare broccolini, I use my instant pot for steaming. Add 1C water to the instant pot in saute mode. Meanwhile prep broccolini - there is not much to prep, but I usually look at the ends and snip off any tough ends and wash broccolini well in water. Add the instant pot steamer insert and add broccolini to instant pot, close lid, change to steam mode with 0 minutes of steam time. While the broccolini is cooking, you can chop the vegetables for the stir-fry and get that going.

With 0 minutes of cooking time, instant pot will stop right when steam builds up - which is just enough steaming for these tender vegetables. Quick pressure release, and drain them well in a colander. 

Heat olive oil in a saute pan, add 2 chopped garlic cloves and a pinch of crushed ref peppers and saute in low heat so the oil is infused with garlic flavor but taking care to not burn the garlic. Add steamed broccolini, use the best finishing salt at hand (my go-to is a Himalayan pink salt), mix well and serve immediately!

One of the beauty of seasonal eating is that you associate a season with the seasonal bounties that it provides. And I bet once you try these fresh broccolini at the best of their season, there will be one more reason for you to look forward to spring - always!