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Perhaps the only negative associated with broccoli is the foul sulphur smell released during cooking. But if you know a little chemistry –– or listen to your Nonna's advice –– there's a trick to avoid that vile smell.
Want to know what it is? Learn how to make winter meatballs with broccoli first.
500 g (1 lb) broccoli
4 medium potatoes, peeled
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
A pinch of ground nutmeg
50 g (1/4 cup) Parmigiano, grated
3 tbsp breadcrumbs + more for dredging
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, or other seeds (I use a mixture of chia, poppy and black sesame)
Extra virgin olive oil
I cook my broccoli vegetarian meatballs in the oven, but you can opt to fry them in a pan. In that case, add 3 tbsp of peanut oil to your ingredient list.
Trim the broccoli without discarding the leaves, they are highly nutritious and tasty.
Steam the broccoli and potatoes until fork soft and allow to cool briefly. To avoid the nasty smell of cooked broccoli, all you have to do is add the juice of 1 lemon to the steamer!
Preheat oven at 180°C (350° F) –– if you'll not be frying.
In a mixing bowl and using the tines of a fork, smash the broccoli and potatoes, combining them. Add the egg, the cheese and 3 tbsp of breadcrumbs.
Shape balls the size you want using your wet hands and flatten them out slightly.
Dust the surface of a flat dish or tray with breadcrumbs and your assortment of seeds, and dredge the vegetarian meatballs.
If you'll be frying, use a cast iron skillet and fry the vegetarian meatballs in batches; otherwise line a baking dish with parchment paper drizzled with a thread of olive oil and bake the vegetarian meatballs for about 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Serve with a crisp salad; mashed broad beans and artichokes; or a simple tomato dipping sauce. The red wine should flow in abundance.