30 Jun Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa


Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa

30 June 2021

PREP. TIME: 10 MIN   -   COOK TIME: 2o mins   -   SERVES: 4

Orecchiette is a traditional small rounded pasta unique to Puglia in southern Italy.  It is made of hard durham wheat and is readily available commercially.  

Cime di rapa - also known as turnip tops or rapa is greatly favoured for its distinctive pungent flavour peculiar to Puglia.  Purple sprouting broccoli or broccoletti or broccolini are good alternatives. All of these greens are rich in calcium, iron, and Vitamin C. 

Garlic and chilli are infused into the olive oil as it heats, the greens are tossed through with the pasta.  To serve - drizzle with additional extra virgin olive oil and pecorino.

Recipe Template


800 g cime di rapa or flowering broccoli 

Extra Virgin Olive oil

1 - 2 Garlic clove

1 - 2 fresh Chilli

300 g Orriechette


Parmesan or Pecorino cheese


Chopping board and kitchen knife

Measuring spoons

Large pot 

Large frypan 

Metal stirring spoon

Metal tongs or Spider

Serving dish


Step 1 - Prepare the ingredients:

Immerse the greens in water and rinse well, as above.

Trim the stems of any discolourations.

Remove discoloured leaves or wilting flowers.  The flowers should be green.

Cut the heads into florets, preserving whatever amount of stem and leaves that you can. Cut larger florets in half lengthways.

Peel and chop the garlic

Rinse and chop the chilli.  For less heat - keep the chilli whole.

Grate the cheese.

Heat a serving dish and pasta plates.

Step 2 - Cook

Fill the large pot with water, bring to the boil and season with salt .

Add the cime di rapa and cook for 5 minutes.

Transfer to a colander to drain.

Add more water and salt to the pot if necessary and cook the pasta in accordance with packet instructions.  Usually approx 10 minutes, or until al dente.

Cover the bottom of a large frypan with  olive oil,  the garlic and chilli, cook gently for 3 minutes without letting the garlic brown.

Add the blanched greens over low heat - stirring occasionally until tender - about 5 minutes. 

Step 3 - Assembly

When the pasta is cooked and the broccoli is ready, transfer the pasta from the cooking pot into the pan with the broccoli, tossing well to impregnate all of the pasta with the oil and the ingredients.

Toss the grated cheese if using,  through the pasta.

Step 4 - To Serve

Transfer to the heated serving dish.

Drizzle with more olive oil.

Serve at the table with extra cheese if you wish.


Recipe adapted by Elizabeth Peddey from 

Adapted by Elizabeth Peddey from The Silver Spoon, and Honey from a Weed by Patience Gray.

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