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  • Writer's pictureDavid

Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa - Pasta with tenderstem broccoli

Quick, fresh, but creamy and comforting!

A simple, comforting dish from Italy's Puglia region. "Cime di rapa" are greens - they have been compared to turnip tops, broccoli and many other veggies. I'm using tenderstem broccoli; you could use purple flowering broccoli, or anything that suits. The basic texture comes from a tender stem or shoot that is cooked down to being almost creamy.

I'm using spicy Italian sausage here too, but you could avoid that if you want a vegetarian version



tenderstem broccoli

Italian sausage (piccante in this case)

leek - It's not necessary, but I had the remans of a leek that was going a bit soft: waste nothing!


Pecorino cheese - or Parmesan. Any gritty, nutty cheese would do: Gruyère, Manchego, the list goes on...


orecchiette pasta - any pasta will do, but orecchiette are traditionally used in this dish - and they work!


Watch the video


  • Finely chop the broccoli

  • Top and tail the leek, taking off the tough outer layers

  • Halve it lengthways and then finely slice it across the length; you want it small

  • Wash the chopped leek - I find washing it when sliced up gets it cleaner easier; leeks are sneaky buggers when it comes to hiding bits of earth in their layers

  • Finely chop the garlic

  • Cut open the sausage - if you're using it (if you're NOT using sausage, there is very little point to randomly cutting one up) and scoop out the meat

  • Chop the sausage meat up to remove clumps

  • Heat olive oil in a pan and add the sausage meat

  • Let the meat flavour the oi

  • Add the broccoli, leek and garlic

  • Stir through

  • Boil salted water in a pan, and add the pasta

  • Turn the heat down to about 8 - you don't need 100ºC for pasta; in fact t's not good for the pasta

  • Meanwhile, stir the broccoli mix

  • Add a ladle or two of the pasta water, stir through and cover

  • After 10 minutes, the pasta and the broccoli will be ready

  • Using a slotted spoon, add the pasta to the broccoli - don't drain the pasta; you want some water to go with it

  • Mix it through

  • Add grated cheese and pepper

  • Job done!

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