Orecchiette con cime di rapa (orecchiette with broccoli rabe) is a traditional Italian dish made with 5 simple ingredients and ready in 15 minutes.
Originating in the heart of the Apulia region, orecchiette con cime di rapa is a traditional inexpensive pasta dish that has been cherished by locals for generations.
The star of this dish is cime di rapa or broccoli rabe, a leafy green vegetable that flourishes in the fertile soil of the region.
This beautifully simple dish features cime di rapa blanched for a few minutes together with the orecchiette pasta and then sautéed with garlic and chili pepper. So simple yet amazingly delicious!
This cime di rapa orecchiette recipe all comes together in about 15 minutes and together with pasta al pomodoro, is one of most popular vegan Italian pasta dishes in Italian cuisine.
What Type Of Pasta Is Orecchiette?
Orecchiette (pronounced oh-reck-ee-ET-tay) is a typical pasta from the Apulia region in Italy, another name for them is recchietedde, or chiancaredde.
Their name comes from their shape, which resembles a small ear.
A few years ago I had the chance to visit Apulia with the one and only Gennaro Contaldo, and we learned how grannies make fresh orecchiette in Bari.
If you're visiting this beautiful town, hidden in the small alleys you'll find dozen of grannies making fresh orecchiette by hand every day.
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe Ingredients
Orecchiette with broccoli rabe is incredibly simple to make and calls for super basic ingredients.
To make the most of this traditional Italian dish, pick the best-quality ingredients you can!
Here's what you need to make this 20-minute pasta recipe:
- Orecchiette pasta: You can use fresh or dried orecchiette pasta, making sure to adjust the cooking time. Fresh pasta takes about 5 minutes to cook and dried orecchiette cook in about 10 minutes.
- Broccoli rabe: If cime di rapa are too bitter for you, you can substitute them with broccoli.
- Garlic: you can add sliced or chopped garlic, or, for a lighter note, cook the whole clove and remove it before serving.
- Red chili pepper: Use fresh sliced red chili pepper or dried chili pepper flakes.
- Olive oil: Use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil for best results.
- Anchovies: This is optional, but feel free to add two anchovy fillets whilst you cook the garlic and chili, for an extra layer of flavor.
How to Make Orecchiette con Cime Di Rapa
The beauty of this simple orecchiette pasta recipe is that it's ready in less than 20 minutes, and it's super easy to make.
Here below is the step-by-step recipe with pictures.
Scroll down until the end of the post for the full printable recipe.
STEP 1. Gently cook the garlic and red chili pepper in a skillet over low heat.
STEP 2. Prepare the cime di rapa. Remove any tough stems and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Rinse them thoroughly under cold water.
STEP 3. In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water cook the orecchiette pasta. For al dente pasta, drain it 2-3 minutes before the suggested cooking time. During the last 5 minutes of cooking time, add in the cime di rapa.
STEP 4. Drain the pasta and broccoli rabe, and add them to the skillet with aromatics. Toss the ingredients to combine, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, and serve.
Cooking tip: Enhance the flavor and add a delightful crunch to your orecchiette with broccoli rabe by generously sprinkling toasted breadcrumbs on top before serving.
Store leftover orecchiette alle cime di rapa in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
More Italian Dinner Recipes To Try
- Traditional Italian Pasta e Fagioli
- Pollo alla Cacciatora (Chicken Cacciatore)
- Ricotta Meatballs - Italian Recipe
- Pumpkin Risotto
- Traditional Bolognese Sauce- Beef Ragu'
- Polpette - Italian Meatballs
- Chicken Pizzaiola
- Steak Pizzaiola - Carne alla Pizzaiola
- Authentic Italian Potato Frittata
- Ossobuco alla Milanese
Did You Try This Recipe?
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Orecchiette Con Cime Di Rapa
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 red chili pepper, finely sliced (or 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes)
- 10.58 oz orecchiette pasta
- 14 oz broccoli rabe (cime di rapa),
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Add the olive oil, sliced garlic and red chili pepper in a skillet over low heat, and cook until the garlic is golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the cime di rapa. Remove any tough stems and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Rinse them thoroughly under cold water.
- In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, add the orecchiette pasta and cook according to the package directions. For al dente pasta, drain it 2-3 minutes before the suggested cooking time. During the last 5 minutes of cooking time, add in the cime di rapa.
- Drain the pasta and cime di rapa, and add them to the skillet with the garlic and red chili pepper. Toss the ingredients to combine, drizzle with more extra-virgin olive oil, season with freshly-cracked black pepper and serve.
- Anchovy fillets: add two anchovy fillets into the skillet with the garlic and red chili pepper for extra flavor.
- Breadcrumbs: add a delightful crunch to your orecchiette with broccoli rabe by generously sprinkling toasted breadcrumbs on top before serving.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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