Total Time: 30 minutes pugliaorecchietteconcimerape

Orecchiette con cime di rapa is the most famous recipes of Puglia and a very simple one. Born from simple cheap ingredients the orecchiette con cime di rapa recipe strikes a tasty combination.

Cime di rapa translates into “turnip tops”, but even the leaves of turnip greens are used in the preparation of the dish.

In the States the turnip greens are mostly known spelled broccoli rabe or broccoli raab to mimic the sound of the southern Italian dialect. In Italian is broccoli di rapa. For early Italian immigrants dialect was their first tongue, Italian came second.

Orecchiette translates in Italian as “small ears” and that is what the shapes of the pasta is. It’s a type of pasta shape typical of Puglia,  not easily found in supermarkets.You can make your own orecchiette and other kind of pasta shapes easily.



Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 8 filets of anchovy
  • 2 pounds broccoli di rapa
  • hot red pepper
  • salt



First discard wilted or bad leaves. Also eliminate hard exterior stems and keep the interior more tender ones. Cut them small.

Cut the florets tops (cime in Italian) of broccoli di rapa. Wash all and separate the leaves from the florets and tender stems.

When the water for the pasta boils, salt as usual, then put the leaves of the broccoli di rapa first, then the orecchiette. It takes longer for the leaves to cook. Florets and tender stems cook faster and are added later about five minutes before pasta is done.

While pasta and leaves are cooking, you can very briefly color lightly the garlic in the oil then add the anchovies stirring them quickly.

When the pasta is done, drain and pour everything (broccoli di rapa included) in the pan with the oil garlic and anchovies. Toss and mix all ingredients at medium heat adding hot pepper to your liking. Some water from the pasta may be necessary to finish the dish. NO cheese.


Note: salt the water from the pasta more abundantly as broccoli di rape will be cooking too with the pasta. You can put the garlic whole and then remove it. Anchovies can be left as they are or cut or dissolved. Make sure oil in the pan is not too hot or when you add pasta or it’ll splash. Hot red pepper in powder mixes better.

As usual, there are other variations and combination of the orecchiette con cime di rapa recipe. You can add tomatoes or sausage and maybe a combination with the two.


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