Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe or Orecchiette alle Cime di Rapa is a traditional Apulian (Pugliese) dish, deeply rooted in the culinary traditions of the southern region of Italy. Apulia is renowned for its fresh and simple ingredients, and this dish is no exception. “Orecchiette” means “little ears,” referring to the pasta’s unique shape, which resembles small ear-like disks. Broccoli Rabe, also known as “cime di rapa,” is a bitter leafy green vegetable, and when combined with the orecchiette, it creates a harmonious balance of flavors and textures. The recipe may vary slightly from one Apulian family to another, but it consistently showcases the essence of Apulian cuisine with its use of fresh, local ingredients.


  • Moderate

Wine Pairings

  • Not Available

Servings For :

  • 4 People


  • Approximately 30 minutes of preparation and cooking


  • Inexpensive

Italy Region

  • Puglia


  • Not Available


  • 360-400 g of orecchiette pasta
  • 1 bunch of broccoli rabe (cime di rapa)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes (optional, for a little heat)
  • Salt
  • Grated Pecorino Romano cheese (for serving)


  1. Start by preparing the broccoli rabe. Wash it thoroughly and trim off any tough stems. Cut the broccoli rabe into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Blanch the broccoli rabe by adding it to the boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, or until it’s tender but still vibrant green. Drain the broccoli rabe and set it aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and, if you like a little heat, a pinch of red pepper flakes. Sauté the garlic until it becomes fragrant, but be careful not to let it brown.
  4. Add the blanched broccoli rabe to the skillet with the garlic and olive oil. Sauté the broccoli rabe for a few minutes, allowing it to absorb the flavors of the garlic and olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt.
  5. In the meantime, cook the orecchiette in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of pasta cooking water.
  6. Add the cooked orecchiette to the skillet with the broccoli rabe. Toss everything together, allowing the pasta and greens to combine and absorb the flavors.
  7. If the mixture appears too dry, add a little pasta cooking water to create a light sauce.
  8. Serve Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe hot, garnished with grated Pecorino Romano cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  9. Enjoy this classic Apulian pasta dish, celebrating the fresh and vibrant flavors of southern Italy.

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe is a delicious example of the simplicity and deliciousness of Apulian cuisine, with the unique shape of orecchiette and the delightful bitterness of broccoli rabe.

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