Orecchiette with Rapini

Puglia is a lovely region of Italy’s east coast.  It is known for its interesting trulli (plural of trullo), which are stone houses dating back centuries, pictured here in a street in the town of Alberobello.

Puglia is also known for a unique pasta, orecchiette, which translates as little ears, traditionally made by hand but now factory made and available in most supermarkets.

Several years ago we spend a couple of weeks in Puglia biking the countryside and noticed a lot of fields growing vegetables – fennel, kale, and rapa,  known in this country as broccoli rabe, or rapini

We enjoyed the puglian dishes very much and added several to our cooking repertoire.  This dish is very simple, with few, mostly pantry ingredients.  It is quick, easy, and very satisfying. Orecchiette combines with rapini in a quick, under thirty minute dish. 


  1. 4 ounces orecchiette
  2. 2-6  ounces rapini
  3. 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  4. 2 ounce can of  anchovy filets, with oil


In a large pot, set salted water to boil.

When it boils, add the orecchiette.

Meanwhile, wash and pick over the rapini and chop coarsely.

Orecchiette needs to cook for about 13-15 minutes, per package directions. Set a timer.

Peel and mince the garlic.

Drain the anchovy filets reserving the oil *

In a large skillet which can hold the orecchiette and rapini, place the minced garlic and the drained anchovies over medium low heat.

Mash with the back of a wooden spoon

Until it is a uniform mass.

When dry, separate the mass so that it covers the pan and remove from the heat.

Six minutes before the orecchiette finishes cooking, add the rapini.

Drain the orecchiette and rapini mixture well and add to the pan with the garlic and anchovies.

Drizzle the reserved olive oil over the mixture.

Heat for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Stir to meld the flavors.


Serve with grated Parmesan cheese or better still, pecorino Romano.

This recipe makes 2 servings of 350 calories each – discounting the added grated cheese added to taste.



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