Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe Recipe

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe Recipe

Try a this delicious pasta dish from the spur of Italy.

A few years ago we spent a wonderful week vacationing in Rodi Garganico. This is in the region of Italy called Puglia. It is most easily identified on a map as the spur of the boot. The little spur is the Gargano Peninsula. It is famous for its beaches and its mountains.

We stayed at the comfortable, family resort Blue Marine Village. It was an excellent location from which to explore Puglia. For more about the entire trip you can read my trip report at IgoUgo.com.

One of the advantages of being a mountainous peninsula is that there is wonderful seafood and wonderful lamb. The dish here though is another local specialty. It features a green served in Puglia that is similar to broccoli rabe, but is unavailable in the United States. It less bitter than broccoli rabe. If you perfer, you can substitute spinach in this dish. Orcchiette are in the shape of small, round shells and is a specialty of Puglia. The shape is ideal for holding sauce.

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe


  • 1 pound of orecchiette pasta
  • 3 garlic cloves, quartered
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound broccoli rabe (or spinach)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Over medium heat, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the garlic.
  2. Sauté for a about a minute. Add the anchovy fillets and mash them into the garlic and oil.
  3. Add the red pepper flakes and mix well.
  4. Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta all at once and stir. Cook until al dente.
  5. While the pasta is cooking, add broccoli rabe and salt to the pan with olive oil and anchovies. Sauté for 1–2 minutes. Add the 1/2 cup of water and cook for about 3 minutes, until the broccoli rabe is a vibrant dark green color.
  6. Transfer the pasta to the skillet and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce.
  7. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Note: I don't always use the water to cook the broccoli rabe, preferring to sauté it until done.

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