Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe | Authentic Italian Recipe
Updated: Jun 26
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe ("Cime di Rapa") is a classic pasta dish from Puglia. It's very simple to make, but produces a flavor greater than the sum of its parts!
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
For this recipe, you will need:
- About 7 oz. (200g) broccoli rabe
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed with the skin on
- 3 anchovies (stored in oil)
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 5.5 oz. (155g) dry orecchiette pasta
Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it generously. Add the broccoli rabe and stir. Let the greens boil while you prepare the sauce.
In a large skillet, add the olive oil and garlic clove over medium temperature. When the garlic starts to bubble around the edges, lower the heat and add the anchovies. Allow these to cook, stirring frequently, until they dissolve in the oil.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the broccoli rabe into the skillet and stir. Keep the cooking water boiling, though! Add a ladleful of the cooking water into the skillet and bring to a simmer so the greens can continue to cook.
Add the pasta into the boiling water (yes, the same that the greens were cooked in!) and set a timer for 3 minutes less than the recommended "al dente" cook time. Stir the tomato paste into the broccoli rabe and remove the garlic clove. Salt the greens to taste.
As the pasta cooks, you may need to add a little more water into the broccoli rabe to maintain moisture in the pan.
When the pasta is "cooked" (it should be quite undercooked as it will finish in the sauce) use a slotted spoon to transfer it into the skillet. If necessary, spoon some more pasta water into the pan as needed to keep the pasta cooking in moisture. Stir over medium/high heat until the pasta is al dente to your taste.
Stop adding water, allow the sauce to thicken, and serve immediately.