Orecchiette Cime di Rapa – Broccoli Pasta


I can’t believe I haven’t shared this on my blog yet. It’s a recipe that I wanted to post as part of my blogs Puglia Party in 2014. There were so many other things to write about it must have just slipped through the net!

You might be thinking what on earth is Cime di Rapa? Well, Cime di Rapa (meaning turnip tops) is a widely used Pugliese vegetable that resembles broccoli, only it’s slightly bitterer. Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa is a dish seen on pretty much every restaurant menu in Puglia. And, personally I think this peasant dish is completely underrated, but then I am a HUGE fan of broccoli.

I’ve tried growing my own Cime di Rapa, but was unsuccessful. If I remember rightly, it was going well, then I went away and by the time I’d got back it had already gone to seed. Next time I’ll keep a more watchful eye on it. But fear not! You don’t have to grow your own special Pugliese vegetable to enjoy the deliciousness of this dish, you can simply use purple spouting broccoli instead! And it’s perfect timing because purple sprouting is just about to come into season. January’s not that bad after all. Well, not if you’re a broccoli lover.

You might be put off by the pasta making part of this recipe, but don’t be – it’s so easy!





450g    Dried Orecchiette or homemade – recipe here

400g    Purple sprouting broccoli or tenderstem broccoli

3          Cloves of garlic

1          Fresh chilli or a sprinkling chilli flakes

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Method – Serves 4 as a main

  1. Make the pasta – Follow this recipe
  2. Boil the broccoli until tender (about 15 minutes). Once tender, add the fresh pasta into the boiling water with the broccoli. Cook for 2-3 minutes. You can taste the pasta to ensure it’s done. Drain. If using dried pasta add it into the boiling water 5 minutes after you’ve added the broccoli.
  3. In a separate saucepan add some olive oil the 3 cloves of crushed garlic and the chilli. Put the drained broccoli and pasta into the saucepan and gently fry so it’s all mixed together. When serving pour a nice glug of extra virgin olive oil on top.

NB: If there are some large chunks of broccoli cut them down so the broccoli is all equal in size.


VEGANS – If asking for this dish in a restaurant make sure to check it hasn’t been made with anchovies.

2 responses to “Orecchiette Cime di Rapa – Broccoli Pasta

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