This is my grandmother Maddalena’s recipe. She was born in a small town near Bari, in Puglia, and moved to Avigliana, near Turin—where I was born and raised—shortly after the Second World War, when many southerners were moving north to find work.

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe [Vegan]

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Cooking Time



  • 320 gr. (11.3 oz.) orecchiette pasta 2 bunches of broccoli rabe (rapini) Extra-virgin olive oil to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, whole
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)


  1. Rinse and clean the broccoli rabe. Select good leaves and the florets (I love the leaves).
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water when it starts to boil and blanch the rapini for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Drain the greens (save the water) and pour them in a sautéing pan or a skillet with extra-virgin olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic, whole.
  4. Sauté for 5 minutes, remove from heat and set aside, covered. Bring the water back to a boil and cook the orecchiette al dente.
  5. Drain pasta al dente and transfer to the skillet with the broccoli rabe. Sauté to allow the flavors to come together, remove garlic, and serve with some red pepper flakes (optional).


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