Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe (Orecchiette ai broccoletti)


(photo: Orecchiette with broccoli rabe)

Orecchiette is literally translated as “little ear” and the pasta is created by using the thumb to press down on the pasta dough to create a concave shape or disc.  Orecchiette originate from the southern Italian province of Puglia located on the “heel” of the boot.  

I like orecchiette because the shape holds the condiment or sauce well making it a very versatile pasta shape.  


  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Red pepper flake
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • Grated cheese (optional)
  • Rustichella Orecchiette (note that it’s imperative that you purchase high quality pasta, especially for a shape like Orecchiette where the shape must be pressed by hand)  

Begin by thoroughly washing the the Broccoli Rabe in cold water and removing a small part of the stem.  Boil the Broccoli Rabe for 5-10 minutes or about 80 percent through.  Next, add garlic, olive oil, and red pepper flake to a large pan.  Next, add the cooked Broccoli Rabe to the pan and mix well; add a bit of the water leftover from boiling the Broccoli Rabe and cook for 10-15 minutes (you’re looking to cook the vegetable down almost to the point where it begins to disintegrate).  Add the cooked pasta to the pan and stir well, cooking for 3-5 minutes.  Add Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and fresh extra virgin olive oil; mix well.  There’s some disagreement on the appropriateness of grated cheese with Orecchiette ai broccoletti, but I like to add it.  


  1. Baked Italian Flounder with Spicy Oven Roasted Broccoli (Pesce al Forno con Broccoli Piccante)

    (photo: oven roasted broccoli with baked flounder with breadcrumb topping)   Like our recent orecchiette recipe this Italian style flounder recipe with roasted, spicy, brocolli can be prepared in under 30 minutes.  Moreover, the toppings used…

  2. I make it the same way except I like to add cooked sausage to mine.

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