It has been a staple superfood for quite some time now, but is it possible that broccoli just got even better for us? Apparently so.
According to researchers at the University of Illinois they have identified that this green vegetable is full of the genes that control the accumulation of phenolic compounds. Aka the things that lower our risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, and several types of cancer.
Now that this information has been discovered researchers can develop a way to breed broccoli and similar Brassica vegetables such as kale and cabbage with more phenolic compounds than ever before.
‘Phenolic compounds have good antioxidant activity, and there is increasing evidence that this antioxidant activity affects biochemical pathways affiliated with inflammation in mammals,’ University of Illinois geneticist Jack Juvik told Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
So, basically it is about time we embraced this delicious superfood more than ever before and crammed it into our diet wherever possible.
To give you some inspiration of how to get your daily broccoli fix, here is a particularly mouthwatering dish for you to try out for yourself.
Pasta with purple sprouting broccoli
- 1kg/2¼lb purple sprouting broccoli
- 1 medium sized fresh red chilli (not too hot)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 small tin of anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
good quality olive oil
- 350g/12oz pasta fusilli, oriecchiette, penne rigate or conchiglie are the most suitable shapes
- 4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan or hard pecorino cheese
- salt and pepper
- Put a large pan of water on to boil with a little salt. Trim the outer leaves and woody stalks from the broccoli. Wash the good bits and chop into 1cm/½in sections. Cut the chilli in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds and the attached pith. Chop the chilli flesh, the garlic and the anchovies finely.
- In another large pan warm four tablespoons of olive oil over a medium flame and add the chilli, garlic and anchovies. Gently fry these for a minute or so and add the broccoli, season with a little salt and pepper, then continue to cook gently while the pasta boils.
- Drop the pasta in the boiling water and stir immediately. Cook until just tender with a little bit of resistance to the bite (al dente). This could take anything between 7 and 12 minutes depending on the type of pasta you choose.
- When the pasta has nearly finished cooking, transfer a small ladle of the cooking water to the broccoli and continue to cook over a high heat until tender.
- When cooked, drain the pasta. Add another two tablespoons of oil and the cheese to the broccoli. Toss with the drained pasta and serve immediately.