Originating from the region of Basilicata, this popular pasta of Puglia is perfect for capturing delicious sauces that accompany it. The name, orecchiette, “little ears” in English, is derived from its shape.
Orecchiette pasta, either fresh or dried, is traditionally cooked with broccoli rabe (rapini) in Basilicata. Broccoli rabe is slightly bitter and more leafy than broccoli. In this recipe I have used broccolini, but any type of broccoli is adequate.
Garlic and chilli magnify this simple vegetarian dish to the next level. Orecchiette Pasta with Broccolini is a great idea for a quick and healthy midweek meal.
Orecchiette Pasta with Broccolini
Time: 30 minutes
500g orecchiette, fresh or dried
2 bunches broccolini
4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra
3 large cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp dried chilli flakes, extra to serve
salt and pepper for seasoning
grated pecorino cheese to serve
truffle oil (optional) to serve
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.
Add the broccolini and orecchiette to the pan and cook as per cooking instructions (12-14 mins usually)
Reserve one cup of cooking water and drain the rest, separating some of the green vegetable.
In a seperate large frypan, add the garlic and chilli to the heated olive oil and fry gently for a minute.
Add the reserved broccoli and smash together with the garlic and chilli.
Toss in the rest of the greens and orecchiette along with the pasta water, adjusting as you go when needed. Season with salt and pepper and extra olive oil to attain a sauce consistency.
Serve pasta to plates and sprinkle with extra chilli, a drizzle of truffle oil and shavings of fresh pecorino cheese.