Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Apulian Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe

The name ‘Orecchiette’ literally means ‘small ears’ and is due to the peculiar shape this kind of Apulian fresh pasta has.

Although they are great with just about any sauce, orecchiette are traditionally enjoyed with broccoli rabe, cime di rapa in Italian cime-di-rapa-the-italian-broccoli-rabe/ just like in this recipe.

Serves: 2 | Preparation time: 15 mins | Cooking time: 25 mins

  • Orecchiette: 160 g
  • Broccoli rabe: 450 g
  • Chili peppers: 1
  • Anchovy fillets in olive oil: 3 or 4 fillets
  • Garlic­: 3 cloves
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): 5 tbsp
  • Salt: to taste


Remove damaged or yellowed leaves by pulling them off the base with your hands. If you want to use stems, it is better to make a cross cut on the base of them, in this way you will facilitate cooking.

Bring to boil salted water and blanch broccoli rabe for about 5 minutes; they should be softer, but still firm. Add the pasta to the same pot and cook together until the pasta is al dente. Keep aside a ladle of cooking water.

Meantime, heat up the Evoo in a pan, brown the garlic along with chilli pepper for a couple of minutes, then add anchovy fillets which will melt in a very short time.

As soon as orecchiette are ready, drain and add them along with broccoli rabe to the pan, pour in the ladle of cooking water you ketp aside, stir-fry everything together for a couple of minutes and serve warm.

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