We have a lot of names here, along with some confusion about just what those names apply to. Sprouting broccoli is a broccoli with a larger number of heads that are smaller than the single heads of the more common broccoli and with longer stems. Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale. The latter is also known as gai-lan and Chinese broccoli. Broccolini itself also goes under Aspabroc, baby broccoli, brokali, and tenderstem. Sprouting broccoli and broccolini are sometimes lumped together as mini broccoli. I won’t even get into broccoli raab for now!
What all the varieties of sprouting broccoli and broccolini have in common is that their unopened flower buds are eaten as in standard broccoli, but the heads are much smaller and more of the stems and small leaves are usually eaten (though those are edible on standard broccoli as well).
Broccolini’s taste is similar to broccoli, but usually a bit sweeter. Both sprouting broccoli and broccolini are less prone to turning to mush when cooked than standard broccoli. They can be eaten raw, sautéed (especially with some garlic), roasted, or grilled. After brief boiling or steaming, they make a marvelous addition to pasta or noodle dishes.
SEASON: late spring and sometimes fall.