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ORECCHIETTE with BROCCOLI: simple, healthy, delicious, sustainable!

Orecchiette with broccoli together with the most famous Apulian version of "orecchiette con le cime di rape" (turnip tops) is one of my family's favorite recipes, which I have been eating since I was a child. This recipe comes from the tradition of Cucina Povera (poor people's food), which has made it an art to create dishes of extraordinary flavor with few, simple ingredients. Humble and easy-to-find ingredients for a taste explosion: the recipe is simple, healthy, sustainable, seasonal and regional. You should give it a try!


INGREDIENTS PREPARATION TIME: 60 min / QUANTITY: 2 portions Orecchiette dough:

  • 300 g durum wheat semola

  • 150g water

Sauce with broccoli:

  • 1 broccoli

  • 1 clove of garlic

  • 3 or 4 salted anchovies (depending on taste)

  • chilli (to taste)

  • salt

  • 2 or 3 spoons breadcrumbs

  • extra virgin olive oil (to taste)




Wash the broccoli and cook the hard parts in a little water. Once they are soft, puree them and put them to one side. Fry the chopped garlic, anchovies and chilli pepper in olive oil. Add the chopped broccoli and cook until soft. Check the salt content and add if necessary.

In the meantime, toast the breadcrumbs in a pan with a little oil.

Add the pureed broccoli to the rest of the sauce and toss everything together for a few minutes once the orecchiette is cooked. Add the pasta cooking water to keep the sauce moist. Serve and garnish with toasted breadcrumbs!

a plate of freshly made orecchiette with broccoli


-This recipe is ideal for using up leftover bread! -In southern Italy, where this dish originated, we are quite generous with olive oil and cook almost exclusively with extra virgin olive oil, taking care not to overheat it.

-The pasta cooking water is an important ingredient for this dish. Don't forget to keep some of it and add it in the final stage of tossing the orecchiette with broccoli. Otherwise, the dish will be dry and the "pasta & sauce-pair" will remain separated.

-I learned to cook from my "Nonna" (grandma) and she taught me to judge the ingredients according to my "senses and feelings": Let your eyes, ears, smell, touch and taste buds be your guide!

- You can also prepare this dish without salted anchovies to make a vegan version.

Try it out, be creative and enjoy it.

With love, Maria-Lucrezia


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