Orecchiette with broccoli rabe



Recipe by
Fabio Abbattista

Orecchiette with broccoli rabe, also called "recchitelle" or "strascinati", are one of the most representative typical dishes of Puglia, especially of the province of Bari. This first course is prepared throughout the region, in different versions using vegetables other than broccoli rabe, such as broccoli or tomato sauce. The secret of this dish lies in the optimal cooking of vegetables with pasta, and the experience and knowledge of raw ingredients result in a perfect dish. In keeping with tradition, Chef Fabio Abbattista has cooked them for us making homemade orecchiette with durum wheat semolina, cooked in boiling water together with broccoli rabe to better absorb the aromas, stirred with tasty sautéed anchovies in oil flavored with a clove of garlic. Orecchiette with broccoli rabe is a traditional country dish, simple but with a unique taste that comes from the combination of strong flavors. If you love genuine recipes, come and discover other Apulian delicacies such as pancotto del Gargano or friselle.


Broccoli rabe 2 ¼ lbs (1 kg)
Breadcrumbs ½ cup (50 g)
Fine salt to taste
Garlic 1 clove
Anchovies in oil 3 fillets
Extra virgin olive oil 2.3 tbsp (30 g)
For 3 cups (300 g) of homemade orecchiette pasta
Water ½ cup (100 g) - lukewarm
Remilled durum wheat semolina 1 ¼ cup (200 g)
Fine salt to taste

How to prepare Orecchiette with broccoli rabe

To prepare the orecchiette pasta, first pour the remilled durum wheat semolina flour on the pastry board, form a fountain 1 and add a pinch of salt to the flour 2. Pour the water at room temperature in the center 3

and start working with your fingers 4 to incorporate the flour. Knead 5 until the dough is smooth and elastic. It'll take about ten minutes. Give the dough a round shape 6 and cover it with a cloth: it should rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

After this time, take a piece of dough, covering the rest with a cloth. Make a roll about 1/3-inch (1 cm) thick (7-8). Using a pastry cutter, cut small pieces about 1/3-inch (1 cm) long 9.

With the help of a butter knife, form small shells by dragging each piece of dough towards you on the pastry board 10. Then turn the shell back on itself 11. Continue until you finish all the dough and you will have made your Apulian orecchiette pasta 12.

For the broccoli rabe: clean them by removing the outer leaves and with a small knife (or with your fingers) take only the inner leaves and the flower 13. Once ready rinse them 14, drain them 15, dry them well, and set them aside. In the meantime, heat a pot with plenty of water, salted to taste, which will be used to boil the broccoli rabe.

In a large skillet pour half of the oil and add the breadcrumbs 16, mix with a rubber spatula and let it toast over medium heat, until golden brown 17, then set aside. As soon as the water has started to boil, cook the previously cleaned broccoli rabe 18 for about 5 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the sauté: in a frying pan pour the remaining oil, an unpeeled crushed garlic clove, and the drained anchovy fillets 19. Mix with a wooden spatula to dissolve the anchovies in the skillet 20; it will only take a few minutes for the fried anchovies to flavor the sauté. When ready, remove the garlic 21 and turn off the heat.

After cooking the greens for 5 minutes, add the orecchiette pasta 22 in the same pot and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Mix gently 23, then drain and place the orecchiette pasta and broccoli rabe into the skillet with the sauté 24.

Stir fry briefly and add salt to taste 25; once ready, turn off the heat 26 and place your orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe on a plate, finishing off with a drizzle of oil and the toasted breadcrumbs 27.


This dish tastes best as soon as it's ready. You can, however, keep the orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe for 1 day in the refrigerator.

The raw orecchiette pasta can be left to air dry under a clean cloth, if you decide to consume them within a couple of days. Otherwise, it is preferable to freeze them well spaced on a tray. Once frozen, place them in freezer bags!


If you would prefer, you can add chili pepper to spice it up a bit before serving.