(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.