Apulian delicacies: the orecchiette alle cime di rapa

Cime di rapa - Puglia Shop Online

What does that mean? Well, it is a traditional pasta dish from Puglia in Italy. These orecchiette are prepared with a type of broccoli and fried in a pan with anchovies, chili and garlic. It is my best dish I tasted during my past trip in the region last November!

In Italian restaurant menus, the pasta dish is served first, it is called the “primi piatti “. The menu is composed of antipasti (starter), primi piatti, secondi piatti and dolce (dessert). This pasta dish could be the first dish of a traditional menu or served as a main dish for a regular meal.

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Orecchiette are ear shape pasta made from hard wheat semolina. They are prepared exclusively in Puglia in South Italy by the women in the villages. In Bari (the capital of the region), chefs and delis buy fresh orecchiette from the women of the Arco Basso street in the old Bari. It is a fascinating street and you should not miss it if you visit the city. In each of the houses, you can observe the women in front of their television and shaping extremely fast their “little ears”.

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Orecchiette are without a doubt the most famous pasta of the region. You can try to do it yourself but be aware that you could possibly not be able to have the same results as the women because of the water that you will be using. Apulian water is very rich in carbon dioxide and influences greatly the pasta dough. If you feel like trying yourself, look at this short video I took during a cooking lesson. The technic is very important!

I would not prepare orecchiette myself. This is a lot of work and I can buy them directly from the Puglia Shop Online or if I feel like eating them right away I discovered that the deli next to my place is selling dry orecchiette from Puglia. (it is also an excuse because I am not very good at pasta making but it could change after my Italian course in the next few months!)

Orecchiette alle cime di rapa Cime di rapa - Puglia Shop Online

Coming back to the recipe, the orecchiette alle cime di rapa are pasta served with a sort of broccoli fried in a sauce pan with chilies, garlic and anchovies. If you haven’t order some Cime di rapa from Puglia shop online, you can replace them by similar fresh steamed broccoli (I actually receive similar broccoli branches from my vegetable shop in Edinburgh). The taste is of course better than the preserved one! (Fresh is always better!)

Orecchiette alle cime di rapa

As I told you at the beginning of the article, this orecchiette dish is by far my favourite I taste during my past trip in November. In the A’Cr’Janz Restaurant in Putignano, the taste the dish with a glass of primitivo (red wine from Puglia) and it was delicious however I wanted to try the Chardonnay from the Salento area in Puglia. It was perfect! This Chardonnay from the Santa Barbara winery is very good. It presented no acidity and the flavours are very fresh. I am not a fan of white wine but I reckon this wine was perfect with the orecchiette.

Chardonnay - Salento- Puglia

Here is the recipe I prepared with the products from the Puglia Shop. The shop offers all the necessary ingredients to prepare the dish (pasta/cime di rapa/wine). Don’t forget to use your reader discount code “OOHMYWORLD” if you want to order from them. You will receive a 5% discount on all the Puglia Shop Online (including discounted products)

Orecchiette alle cime di rapa

Disclaimer: The ingredients to prepare the recipe have been provided by Puglia Shop Online, however all opinions are mine and they are not influenced by the previous fact.

Orecchiette alle cime di rapa

By Sophie Maulevrier Published: January 31, 2014

  • Yield: 2 Servings
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 7 mins
  • Ready In: 22 mins

Traditional pasta dish from the Puglia region in Italy. The pasta are served with a type of broccoli cooked in a sauce pan with chilies, garlic and anchovies.



  1. First, you should cook the orecchiette. They took a long time to cook (approx 15 mins for the dry ones). Cook them in salted boiling water with NO olive oil (you shouldn't add olive oil in the water)
  2. Cut the anchovies in small pieces and peel and crush the garlic clove.
  3. In a sauce pan, put the blanched broccolis or the preserved cime di rapa. Add the garlic, the chili and the olive oil. Cook for a few minutes at medium heat.
  4. In a second pan, put some oil and heat it. When the pan is hot, add the breadcrumbs and fry them for a few minutes (be careful it burns quickly). Put the breadcrumbs in a ramequin.
  5. When the pasta are ready, drain them and add them into the sauce pan with the vegetables. Stir for a couple of minutes and serve in 2 plates. Add the breadcrumbs and serve! Et voilà!

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