Orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe


Orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe

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Cime di rape is a green leafy vegetable grown in Puglia, Southern Italy, in winter and is also known throughout the world as broccoli rabe, or turnip tops and is pronounced rah-peh.

You will find cime di rape at local fruit markets and also from Italian food providores. As the cime di rape cooks, it becomes creamy and is packed with flavour. Broccoli can be used as a substitute.


  • 500g orecchiette pasta
  • 2 large bunches cime di rape, washed and cleaned
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 anchovy fillets in olive oil
  • 1 small red chili (optional), chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 100g toasted breadcrumbs (See Note)


Clean the cime di rape under cold, running water and discard the bottom, tough part of the plant. Drain the cime di rape and chop roughly.

Put four tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan with the crushed garlic, anchovies and chili. Stir together allowing the anchovies to melt.

Add the cime di rape and amalgamate well. Season to taste.

Cook the orecchiette in boiling salted water until al dente, approximately seven minutes.

While the orecchiette are cooking, skim off some of the white, starchy pasta water to add into the cime di rape sauce.

Drain pasta well and add to the sauce.

Sprinkle with the toasted breadcrumbs and drizzle extra virgin olive oil over as you wish.

Check and season to taste and serve.

Note: Make your own breadcrumbs using days-old bread cut into small cubes and toasted in the oven for eight minutes with olive oil.

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