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Orecchiette con cime di rapa (Orecchiette Pasta with Turnip Greens) is a classic Apulian dish that is delightfully simple to make. Cime di rapa, also known as broccoli rabe or rapini, can be a little tricky to find outside of Italy, so use tenderstem broccoli if it's unavailable.
Learn how to make this special recipe in this video!
Orecchiette Pasta with turnip greens
Preparation: 30 minutes - Cooking: 20 minutes Difficulty: Easy - Portions: 2-3 persons - Cost: Low
How to make Orecchiette Pasta with Rapini
Clean the rapini. Add salt in boiling water and blanch half of the greens for 1 minute. Don't throw out the cooking water! Toast them in the oven for 10 minutes. Boil the remaining greens for 10 minutes. Strain the greens and combine with the toasted ones. Transfer to a plate and set aside. (To save time, you can also choose to simply boil all of the greens until tender, forgoing the crispness from the baked half).
Meanwhile, combine ¼ cup olive oil, anchovies, and garlic in an empty skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring and breaking up anchovies occasionally with a wooden spoon until they have dissolved and the garlic has softened and is just beginning to turn lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add chili pepper and continue to cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove skillet from heat.
Meanwhile, cook pasta until it is softened on the exterior, but well shy of al dente and still uncooked in the center (about 3 minutes less than the package directions). Save about 2 cups of the water and then strain the pasta and transfer to the skillet. Add the greens. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring and tossing rapidly, until pasta is al dente and sauce is thickened and coats noodles, 2 to 3 minutes, adding more pasta cooking water in ¼ cup (60ml) increments as needed.
At this point, the sauce should just pool around the edges of the pan; it will continue to tighten up in the time it takes to plate and serve, so make sure it's a little looser than the ideal serving consistency. Season with salt to taste.
Remove from heat and serve. Drizzle each serving generously with olive oil and sprinkle with Taralli Pugliesi breadcrumbs.