Cavolfiore seduto

“Sitting Down” Broccoflower

Broccoflower is a cross between cauliflower and broccoli, but looks like the former. It is a striking chartreuse and here, in a dish from Basilicata, it is cooked whole: the leaves are removed and a cross is cut in the bottom so that heat can penetrate and cook the central core. The pot is tightly covered and the broccoflower, along with a handful of pitted olives and a sliced onion, is left to braise over very low heat with little moisture. As it cooks, it softens and “sits down.”


  • 1 head broccoflower, 1½ to 2 pounds
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup pitted oil- or brine-cured black olives


Remove the outer leaves from the broccoflower. Turn it stem end up and, using a small, sharp knife, cut a deep cross in the bottom of the central stem.

In a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the broccoflower, stem side down, and the olives, and then pour in water to a depth of ¼ inch. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the broccoflower is tender when pierced with a knife, 30 to 40 minutes.

Serve the broccoflower directly from the pan, using a large spoon and being sure to include some olives and onion in each portion. Alternatively, carefully transfer the broccoflower to a serving bowl and spoon the olives and onion on top.