Romanesco broccoli pasta soup

Romanesco broccoli pasta soup; recipe from Rome.

This Romanesco broccoli pasta soup had me at the first spoonful! It is tasty healthy and warming. So perfect for the never-ending winter we are experiencing at the moment in Northern Italy!

Romanesco broccoli pasta soup in blue and white soup bowl

Minestra di pasta e broccoli romani.

Once again Italian cuisine shows it’s mastery in taking simple seasonal ingredients and turning them into a dish you just can’t get enough of! I confess I had 2 bowls of this Romanesco pasta soup, one after the other. I would have had more, had there been room in my tummy!

An authentic pasta soup recipe from Rome.

This recipe comes from Lazio, particularly Rome, where traditionally it includes skate. This is a fish that’s not so easy to find here in Veneto, so I made it without, which many people do. However the original recipe dates back to the times when Friday was a day of fasting. In poorer households, housewives would make a soup with the week’s leftover dried pasta (often a mix of different kinds) and skate, which was a actually a cheap and unappreciated fish. I have read that Romanesco broccoli was added to the soup to give it more taste!

Romanesco broccoli pasta soup ingredients

What is Romanesco broccoli?

Romanesco broccoli, also known as Roman cauliflower, has actually been grown in Italy since the 16th century. So it’s not, as some people think, a cross between a cauliflower and broccoli. The fabulous bright chartreuse colour and  baroque ‘design’ described as a natural self-similar fractal make this member of the brassica family a really beautiful vegetable.

What is a self-similar fractal you may ask! In simple layman’s terms, it’s the same pattern repeated over and over again in different sizes in something that each part looks the same as the whole object. You can read more on fractals in Wikipedia but in short Romanesco broccoli is a natural work of art!

Romanesco broccoli pasta soup prepared ingredients

However, Romanesco broccoli isn’t just good looking. It has a delicious slightly nutty and delicate flavour  and tastes a bit like something between cauliflower and broccoli. This also means it is great in both cauliflower and broccoli recipes.  Here in Italy, Romanesco broccoli is served as a side dish with main courses or eaten with pasta or made into soup. It’s also used in soup with pasta together, like in this recipe for Romanesco broccoli pasta soup!

Romanesco broccoli pasta soup ingredients in frying pan

The Pasta.

Nowadays the pasta used in this soup is either broken up spaghetti or soup pasta such as ditalini, which is what I used. However, you can use any small pasta. In the days when this soup was traditional Friday fare, pasta was often sold loose, not in packets. The leftovers were used in soups like in this recipe. Today pasta is sold in packets, but most Italian pasta makers also sell packets of mixed pasta (pasta mista) which is popular for soups.

Romanesco broccoli pasta soup ingredients cooking in frying pan

Other ingredients for Romanesco broccoli pasta soup.

Apart from the pasta and the Romanesco broccoli, this recipe has only a few other ingredients. There are slightly different versions of this soup, as there are with many old Italian recipes. Generally, when made with skate this soup also includes carrot, celery and onion which are used with the skate to make a broth first. In this much simpler version, the only other ingredients are potato, anchovies, fresh chili pepper, garlic and tomatoes. The pasta can be cooked in the soup or separately. I cooked it in the soup which I think also makes the soup slightly thicker because of the starch from the pasta.

Romanesco broccoli pasta soup in blue and white bowl

If you have never eaten this unusual vegetable, then this Romanesco broccoli pasta soup  is a great introduction to it.  Although another great way to eat it is raw as a crudité. It makes for a great conversation starter as most guests are unlikely to have eaten it before! Then you can show off your knowledge and explain fractals to them!

romanesco broccoli pasta soup

If you do try this Romanesco broccoli soup  recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.

Your feedback means a lot to me!

Buon Appetito!

Want to know more about my life in Italy? Go to the homepage and subscribe to my newsletter. New subscribers get a free recipe e-book too! https://www.the-pasta-project.com

Save this recipe for later?

If you want to save this recipe for later, you can print it, bookmark this page or save it to Pinterest.

Pin for later.

Romanesco broccoli soup from Rome

5 from 31 votes
Romanesco broccoli pasta soup in blue and white bowl
Romanesco broccoli pasta soup
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

A delicious traditional soup from Rome made with beautiful Romanesco broccoli. This soup is tasty, healthy and warming.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Central Italy, Italian, Rome & Lazio
Keyword: authentic Italian pasta recipe, Italian food, Italian recipe, pasta soup, Roman cuisine, Romanesco broccoli, soup
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
Ingredients
  • 200 g spaghetti or ditalini (7oz) spaghetti needs to be broken into pieces
  • 1 medium Romanesco Broccoli washed and cut into florets
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1/2 fresh red or green chili pepper (peperoncino) cleaned of seeds and chopped into small pieces
  • 5 anchovy fillets you can use salted or preserved in oil
  • 2 potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 200 g cherry tomatoes (7oz) washed
  • 3-4 tbsp tomato passata You can use more passata if you don't have fresh tomatoes
  • salt to taste
  • fresh parsley optional
  • 30 g parmesan or grana cheese grated optional
  • black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat two to three tablespoons of oil in a deep frying pan or skillet, add the peeled garlic cloves and let them soften.

  2. Add the anchovy fillets cut into pieces and let them melt, then add the chili pepper (peperoncino) cut into small pieces, cherry tomatoes and Romanesco broccoli florets. stir and cook for 5 minutes

  3. Add the potato pieces and tomato passata and two to three cups of water or vegetable stock.

  4. Continue to cook covered for 10 minutes and then add salt and pepperto taste and the pasta.

  5. Cook until the pasta and Romanesco broccoli are both still a little al dente (firm). Remove the garlic.

  6. Serve hot with a dash of extra virgin olive oil, grated Parmesan or grana, black pepper and chopped parsley as required.

Recipe Notes

Traditionally this soup is made with spaghetti broken into pieces or ditalini, but you can also use other types of soup pasta.

For a vegetarian version leave out the anchovies.They are there for their umami flavour. You can substitute them with umeboshi paste. Also use a vegetarian cheese as Parmigiano and grana are made with animal rennet.

Other recipes from Rome on The Pasta Project.

  1. Puntarelle pasta with burrata
  2. Pasta alla Papalina
  3. Spaghetti alla carbonara
  4. Bucatini or spaghetti Amatriciana

You May Also Like

67 Comments

  • Avatar
    Lathiya
    December 3, 2019 11:05 pm

    The weather here getting colder as days pass by and I need a bowl of good soup. Your’s look so comforting and delicious.

  • Avatar
    Jacque Hastert
    December 3, 2019 5:37 pm

    I love this delicious soup. It is hearty, healthy, and soul warming. I am making this soon. Very, very soon!

  • Avatar
    Stacey
    December 2, 2019 12:34 pm

    Such a beautiful recipe and all of those flavors sound amazing! A perfectly cozy and stunning soup!

  • Avatar
    Jo
    December 2, 2019 11:55 am

    That’s one hearty, delicious soup. I looks filling and absolutely delicious. This recipe is so good!

  • Avatar
    Paula Montenegro
    December 2, 2019 11:07 am

    So unique, this pasta soup! I never had romanesco broccoli. This is a recipe I would love to try very soon, sounds simple and flavorful. Love that it has anchovies! Thanks for sharing.

  • Avatar
    Sara
    December 2, 2019 1:25 am

    I’ve never known what to do with Romanesco broccoli, but I’m SO GLAD I found your recipe! this soup is so perfect for the cold weather, and the broccoli is just beautiful. Thank you!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 4:49 am

      So happy that you found it Sara!

  • Avatar
    Amy Dong
    December 1, 2019 6:06 am

    Love how you can opt to cook the pasta in the soup … definitely makes a thicker soup without having to add thickeners. The Romesco broccoli is awesome!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 4:50 am

      I like it like that too Amy. I like a thicker consistency!

  • Avatar
    Denise
    November 30, 2019 4:08 pm

    This looks incredibly delicious! I love all the ingredients, this is definitely a winner in my book. Thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 4:51 am

      Thank you, Denise!

  • Avatar
    Kushigalu
    November 30, 2019 9:14 am

    Such a lovely combination for soup. My family would love them. Will try this soon. Yummmy!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 4:53 am

      Thank you, Kushigalu. Hope it’s a winner with your family!

  • Avatar
    Kelly Anthony
    November 29, 2019 10:44 pm

    My girls love broccoli AND pasta! This would be the perfect dinner combo for our family 🙂 So comforting and healthy at the same time. WINNER!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 4:54 am

      Healthy and delicious is always good!

  • Avatar
    Carrie | Clean Eating Kitchen
    November 29, 2019 9:45 pm

    I bought some romanesco on a whim and so glad i found this recipe! A delicious soup full of flavor and so hearty!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 4:54 am

      Perfect timing Carrie! This recipe is a perfect way to use it!

  • Avatar
    Jess
    November 29, 2019 5:28 am

    Healthy soup with pasta in it!!! Sign me up! This recipe looks and sounds amazing and incredibly easy to make! YUM!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 4:59 am

      It ticks all the boxes Jess!

  • Avatar
    Nart | Cooking with Nart
    November 28, 2019 4:31 pm

    Romanesco broccoli is almost too pretty to eat…almost! Love healthy, warming soups.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:00 am

      It is really beautiful, but too tasty to save!

  • Avatar
    Simone
    November 28, 2019 12:22 pm

    Wow, that Romanesco broccoli is really unusual looking… and is definitely the star of your dish! I’m going to have to look for it around here & try it. Thanks for this great recipe!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:00 am

      Thank you, Simone. I hope you find it and love it!

  • Avatar
    Jazzy’s Mama
    November 27, 2019 8:30 pm

    This soup looks so hearty and delicious. I love, love, love Italian food!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:01 am

      Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Yasmin
    November 27, 2019 12:12 pm

    Loved this great recipe! Delicious perfect for a cold night.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:01 am

      Thank you, Yasmin! It is particularly good on chilly nights!

  • Avatar
    Ai | Ai made it for you
    November 27, 2019 8:00 am

    Romanesco broccoli is one of my favorites! Your soup looks so delicious!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:02 am

      Thank you! The ingredients are so good in this dish, it’s no work to make it look delicious!

  • Avatar
    Lisa Ho
    November 27, 2019 7:44 am

    Beautiful broccoli. And delicious soup.
    We have yet to see Romanesco broccoli in our grocery stores.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:03 am

      Hopefully you get to try some soon Lisa, and thank you!

  • Avatar
    Beth
    November 27, 2019 4:03 am

    Not only does this look like an amazing recipe, but I love adding to my knowledge of mathematical patterns in plants! Fractals for dinner it is.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:05 am

      Always choose fractals when you can Beth 😉

  • Avatar
    Angela
    November 26, 2019 10:40 pm

    Romanesco broccoli is so beautiful and fun. When I see it in the store, I just have to buy it since it is rarely there. Now I have a great recipe to use it for.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:06 am

      I am glad you see it in your stores now and again Angela! Hopefully you love this recipe as much as we do!

  • Avatar
    Erika
    November 26, 2019 9:51 pm

    What a great soup! I’d have eaten more too!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:07 am

      Thank you, Erika! I am glad you loved it!

  • Avatar
    Renee | The Good Hearted Woman
    November 25, 2019 9:31 pm

    This time of year is perfect for a good, hearty soup like this! Romanesco is fascinating to look at! I find myself picking it up at the farmer’s market occasionally, just because it adds so much gorgeous detail to any recipe.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:08 am

      Thank you, Renee! Such a good idea to add it to recipes for the look!

  • Avatar
    Irina
    November 25, 2019 9:27 pm

    OMG! What a wonderful recipe of this hearty soup! Sounds flavorful and delicious! Will be making it for dinner today!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:09 am

      Thank you, Irina! I hope it worked out wonderfully!

  • Avatar
    Raia Todd
    November 25, 2019 9:03 pm

    What a beautiful veggie! Broccoli always goes deliciously in pasta, so this is of course so tasty!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:10 am

      It really is perfect for this recipe!

  • Avatar
    Pamela
    November 25, 2019 8:50 pm

    What a lovely soup! That broccoli is the star! We were thinking about growing that variety in the garden next year!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:10 am

      I would love to hear about it if you do Pamela!

  • Avatar
    Calleigh | The Fork Bite
    November 25, 2019 8:41 pm

    This pasta soup had me at the first spoonful. It looks tasty and warming and so perfect for cold winter days. Can’t wait to try this!!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 2, 2019 5:10 am

      Thank you, Calleigh!

  • Avatar
    Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness
    March 6, 2018 12:54 am

    This looks delicious! I love a good soup recipe, and romanesco broccoli is so pretty!!

    • admin
      admin
      March 7, 2018 8:34 am

      Grazie Cathleen! Yes this is a super soup! Healthy, tasty and, as you say, the romanesco looks so pretty! What more can you ask for in a soup? Greetings from Verona! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Katie Crenshaw | A Fork’s Tale
    March 4, 2018 2:18 pm

    I have never had Romanesco Broccoli, but I am dying to try it now. This recipe looks lovely. It is a perfect soup for these cold windy days we have been having. I am going to make this meal for dinner next week. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • admin
      admin
      March 7, 2018 8:43 am

      Grazie di cuore as the Italians say Katie! Romanesco broccoli is a pretty amazing veg; tasty, healthy and beautiful to look at! I’m sure you’ll love this soup! Greetings from Verona! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Jen
    March 3, 2018 8:55 pm

    Whoaaa! Such a cool recipe. I remember the first time I encountered Romanesco Broccoli, I had no idea what to do with it haha. Thank you for this recipe.. as soon as these are back in season here I will give it a go!

    • admin
      admin
      March 4, 2018 5:55 am

      Thank you from Verona Jen! I’m sure you’ll love this recipe when you try it! So delicious, warming and comforting! All the best Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Sara | Real Balanced
    March 3, 2018 4:27 pm

    This looks sooo delicious!! Romanesco is such a beautiful food!

    • admin
      admin
      March 4, 2018 5:57 am

      Grazie Sara! Yes this is a super soup and the Romanesco does give it a wonderful flavour! Really a beautiful food in every way! Wishing you a lovely Sunday from Verona! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Ilana
    March 2, 2018 2:15 pm

    I haven’t tried Romanesco broccoli yet, but I love everything about pasta so I would definitely love to give a try!

    • admin
      admin
      March 4, 2018 6:07 am

      I’m sure you’d love Romanesco broccoli Ilana! And it works so well in this delicious soup! Hope you get to try it! Greetings from Verona! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Brian Jones
    March 2, 2018 7:26 am

    That sounds delicious, I can image skate working really well with this, although I am biased as I thing skate goes with everything 😀

    • admin
      admin
      March 4, 2018 6:04 am

      Thanks a lot Brian! This is really a super soup. I also want to try it with skate. Difficult to find where I live though! Buona Domenica from Verona! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Lisa
    March 1, 2018 8:12 pm

    I first saw Roman cauliflower when I was on my honeymoon a few years ago! We were in Oregon, not Italy, but it was so beautiful to see! This recipe looks so good! I’m going to add it to my dinner pinterest board!

    • admin
      admin
      March 4, 2018 6:09 am

      Grazie di cuore as the Italians say Lisa! Romanesco broccoli is really a fab food! Beautiful and tasty. I’m sure you’ll love this soup if you try it! Have a lovely! Sunday Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Amanda
    March 1, 2018 4:55 pm

    Love pasta and this is a great recipe to incorporate romanesco!

    • admin
      admin
      March 4, 2018 6:10 am

      Thanks Amanda! Yes the Romanesco works so well in this tasty and warming soup! I love it! All the best from bella Italia! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Patty
    March 1, 2018 2:18 pm

    Such a hearty soup! Romanesco is my favorite “cauliflower”, its taste is mild, the florets are softer than cauliflower, really delicious and as you mentioned also delicious as a crudité. I’m certain my husband and son would love this gorgeous soup!

    • admin
      admin
      March 4, 2018 6:13 am

      Thanks so much Patty! I love Romanesco too! It certainly adds a wonderful flavour to this soup! I’m sure your family will love it if you make it! Have a lovely Sunday dear! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Karen
    February 27, 2018 6:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing the recipe, I hope to find the broccoli or seeds to grow my own. It looks delicious.

    • admin
      admin
      February 28, 2018 1:47 pm

      Hi Karen, I’m happy you like this recipe. Hopefully you’ll be able to find or grow this amazing broccoli and make the recipe. It’s delicious! All the best from Verona! Jacqui

Leave a Reply