Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe

Staff Writer
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe
Matthew Septimus

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe

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Orecchiette, which means "little ears" (a reference to their round, concave shape), is a regional symbol of Puglia. Traditionally, orecchiette are homemade. The combination of native, hard-wheat flour, and water (instead of egg) yields a firm-textured pasta.

The orecchiette are sauced with broccoli rabe that is cooked in olive oil seasoned with garlic, red pepper flakes, and chopped anchovy. (Anchovy is often used in combination with broccoli rabe and other bitter greens because the rich, salty flavor of the anchovy mellows the bitter taste of the vegetable.) The dish is finished with grated pecorino, and, classically, with fried breadcrumbs. Crumbled sausage may be added; it also balances the bitterness of the broccoli.

The broccoli rabe is traditionally blanched in the water in which the pasta will be cooked, which serves to infuse the pasta with the flavor of the vegetable.

Click here to see 15 Easy 15-Minute Pasta Recipes.

Ready in
15 m
4
Servings
275
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Ingredients

  • Coarse salt, to taste
  • 7 Ounces broccoli rabe (about 10 stalks), thick stems trimmed, cut into roughly 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 Pound orecchiette
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 Cup coarse breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the heel of the hand
  • 1/8 Teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
  • 2 anchovy fillets, preferably salt-packed, deboned, rinsed, and chopped
  • 1/3 Pound pork sausage, casings removed (optional)
  • 6 Tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

Add the broccoli and cook until tender and still juicy, and crushes when pressed between thumb and forefinger, 2-3 minutes. (Do not overcook; the broccoli will cook again in the olive oil.) Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Then, add the orecchiette to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat enough olive oil to generously cover the bottom over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and fry, stirring until golden, about 30 seconds. Set aside on absorbent paper.

Then, combine the oil, garlic, red chile pepper flakes, and chopped anchovy in a large skillet. Place over low heat and cook until the garlic begins to turn golden, about 2 minutes. (Or, if using the sausage, cook the garlic for only 1 minute until softened but not colored. Then, add the sausage and cook for 1 minute.)

Drain the pasta, reserving about 2 cups of the cooking water. Add the cooked broccoli rabe to the skillet, season with salt, to taste, and toss. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add the drained orecchiette to the skillet with enough reserved pasta water to bathe the pasta. Simmer until most of the water is evaporated and the pasta is cooked. (You should see a little emulsified liquid surrounding the pasta.) Adjust the seasoning to taste. Toss with the cheese. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the pasta and serve.

Orecchiette Shopping Tip

Italian food is about simplicity and letting the ingredients shine. So make sure you get ingredients that are great quality and flavor. Farmers markets and specialty stores will have great produce and products. Just be sure to have some great olive oil.

Orecchiette Cooking Tip

Unlike other highly regarded cuisines, Italian cooking is usually simple to make with many dishes having only 4 to 8 ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
5g
8%
Sugar
2g
N/A
Saturated Fat
3g
13%
Cholesterol
15mg
5%
Protein
13g
27%
Carbs
43g
14%
Vitamin A
74µg
8%
Vitamin B12
0.2µg
3.6%
Vitamin B6
0.2mg
9.5%
Vitamin C
10mg
17%
Vitamin E
0.9mg
4.6%
Vitamin K
108µg
100%
Calcium
231mg
23%
Fiber
3g
13%
Folate (food)
52µg
N/A
Folate equivalent (total)
76µg
19%
Folic acid
15µg
N/A
Iron
3mg
14%
Magnesium
45mg
11%
Monounsaturated
1g
N/A
Niacin (B3)
3mg
14%
Phosphorus
237mg
34%
Polyunsaturated
0.8g
N/A
Potassium
240mg
7%
Riboflavin (B2)
0.2mg
12.4%
Sodium
399mg
17%
Thiamin (B1)
0.3mg
19.4%
Zinc
2mg
10%

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