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Breadcrumbs bring richness and texture to a simple pasta from Puglia, Italy
Milk Street Bowtie Orecchiette with Broccolini

Orecchiette with Broccolini

Appears in March-April 2020

40 minutes

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Orecchiette with Broccolini

Free

Orecchiette with broccoli rabe (orecchiette con cime di rapa) is a signature pasta dish from the Puglia region of southern Italy. We were taught how to make it by Nunzia da Scalo, a cook in Bari, Italy. The bitterness of rabe is challenging for some palates, so we use sweeter, milder Broccolini. However, if you like the assertiveness of rabe, it can easily be used in place of the Broccolini, though rabe will cook a little more quickly. We boil the pasta in a minimal amount of water, then the starchy liquid that remains becomes the base for the sauce that marries the orecchiette and Broccolini. A finishing sprinkle of toasted seasoned breadcrumbs adds a crisp texture.

4

Servings

Tip

Don’t use fine dried breadcrumbs instead of panko breadcrumbs. Their sandy, powdery texture doesn’t offer the light, delicate crispness of panko.

40 minutes

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 medium garlic cloves, 4 minced, 4 thinly sliced
8 oil-packed anchovy fillets, minced
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
1½ pounds broccolini, trimmed and cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces
½-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
12 ounces orecchiette pasta
Ingredients
Directions
  1. 01
    In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the minced garlic and half the anchovies, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the panko and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside; wipe out the pot.
    See Demo
    orecchiette-broccolini-step-1
  2. 02
    In the same pot over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil until shimmering. Add the broccolini, pepper flakes, sliced garlic, ¾ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccolini is crisp-tender and the garlic is golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Add ½ cup water and continue to cook, stirring, until most of the moisture has evaporated and the broccolini is fully tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
    See Demo
    orecchiette-broccolini-step-2
  3. 03
    In the same pot over medium-high, boil 5 cups water. Add 1 teaspoons salt and the pasta, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente. Stir in the broccolini mixture, the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the remaining anchovies. Continue to cook over medium-high, stirring constantly, until the liquid has thickened enough to cling lightly to the pasta and broccolini, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
    See Demo
    orecchiette-broccolini-step-3
Tip: Don’t use fine dried breadcrumbs instead of panko breadcrumbs. Their sandy, powdery texture doesn’t offer the light, delicate crispness of panko.
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Orecchiette with Broccolini

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

40 minutes

Tip

Don’t use fine dried breadcrumbs instead of panko breadcrumbs. Their sandy, powdery texture doesn’t offer the light, delicate crispness of panko.

Ingredients
Step 1 of 3

Combine Ingredients In Dutch Oven

2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4
medium garlic cloves, minced
4
oil-packed anchovy fillets, minced
¾
cup panko breadcrumbs

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the minced garlic and half the anchovies, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 45 seconds.


Add the panko and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside; wipe out the pot.

Step 2 of 3

Cook Broccolini

2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
pounds broccolini, trimmed and cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces
½-1
teaspoon red pepper flakes
4
medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

In the same pot over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil until shimmering. Add the broccolini, pepper flakes, sliced garlic, ¾ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.


Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccolini is crisp-tender and the garlic is golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes.


Add ½ cup water and continue to cook, stirring, until most of the moisture has evaporated and the broccolini is fully tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.

Step 3 of 3

Combine Mixtures In Pot

Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4
oil-packed anchovy fillets, minced

In the same pot over medium-high, boil 5 cups water. Add 1 teaspoons salt and the pasta, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente. Stir in the broccolini mixture, the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the remaining anchovies.


Continue to cook over medium-high, stirring constantly, until the liquid has thickened enough to cling lightly to the pasta and broccolini, about 1 minute.


Remove from the heat, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.

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