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Orecchiette con broccoli

September 17, 2010 2 Comments

I love learing about the cooking specialities in the different regions in Italy. Today I am going to bring you a well known dish that is made in Southern Italy. Given that I am not from the South I don’t profess to be an expert on the matter but I will share with you my version of this famous and yummy dish.

Orecchiette, as the name suggests (if you know a little italian) are an ear shaped pasta. The orecchiette is a disc shaped pasta of approx 2cm which is a little thinner in the centre of the disk than it is on the outer rim, with a rough surface.

This pasta originates from Puglia, a region of Southern Italy.

I use pecorino to finish off the pasta because it has a stronger flavor than its brother, parmigiano, and it is more commonly used in the south to finish off pasta dishes.

I wanted to make a quick note about the anchovies. I can hear you all borking at the idea but really, don’t worry about them. It gives the pasta a beautiful flavor without really tasting or seeing them. My husband who HATES anchovies can’t even tell they are in there. Don’t cut them out – TRUST ME… they really do make the dish.


  • 500g Orecchiette
  • 500g of Broccoli
  • 120 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped finely
  • 5 chopped anchovy fillets
  • 2 red hot chili finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated pecorino (alternative is Parmesan)

How to…

1.  Remove flowerettes from broccoli. Use all of it, including the stem, just cut off all the woody bits. Basically you do this by cutting away from the stem for example the outer most part of it, the green hard bit. Do this until you are left with the white (or lite green) part of the stem. Slice thinly.

2.  Bring large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the broccoli for about 3 – 4 mins, or just until they start to get tender. Remove the brocolli from the boiling water (without throwing water away as this is where you will cook the orecchiette). Bath broccoli in cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

3.  Put orecchiette into the still boiling water and cook for one minute less than the packet instructions state.

4.  To create your sauce, heat the olive oil in a large non stick saucepan on low heat. Add diced garlic, chili and chopped anchovies, sauté for 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic though, so watch that.

5.  Remove broccoli from cold water and add to oil and mix well, being careful not to break all the broccoli apart.

6.  Season to taste with salt.

7.  Before draining the orecchiette reserve a little cooking water. Drain the orecchiette and add to the oil and broccoli mixture. Coat well.

8.  Add a little liquid to loosen the sauce.

9.  Grate the pecorino stirring it into the pasta.

10. Serve immediately with a little more pecorino in top.

Buon Appetito!

Orecchiette con broccoli
  • patricia

    love orecchietti..thanks for sharing!

    • Anonymous

      Hi Particia,

      I absolutely love eating orecchiette this way. A must try if you like orecchiette!!!

      Thanks for stopping by :)

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