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Orecchiette with Anchovies, Broccoli & Sundried Tomatoes recipe

Orecchiette with Anchovies, Broccoli & Sundried Tomatoes recipe

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A new fantastic Italian regional orecchiette pasta recipe with anchovies, broccoli & sundried tomatoes, easy to prepare with simple ingredients that you can find in our website Vorrei.

Essex, England, UK

2 people made this


  • 360g Gragnano ‘Orecchiette’ Pasta
  • 80g Cetara Anchovy Fillets
  • 60g Vorrei Sundried Tomatoes in Olive Oil
  • 300g Broccoli
  • 1 Chilli Pepper
  • Cenzino Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil q. b
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • Handful of Parsley
  • Sprinkle of fresh or dried Thyme
  • Pepper


  1. Chop the thyme if fresh. Remove the seeds from the chilli pepper and chop it finely.
  2. Cut the heads of the broccoli into small pieces, cut up the more tender stalks too, place heads and stalks in a large pan of cold water and bring to the boil, once the water boils add some salt and the orecchiette pasta too and cook following the instructions on the packet.
  3. Chop the Vorrei Sundried Tomatoes into little pieces.
  4. Heat the Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a frying pan, add the garlic clove, the anchovies, the chilli and the thyme, cook until the anchovies become lighter in colour.
  5. Drain the broccoli and orecchiette pasta and add to the frying pan then add the Vorrei Sundried Tomatoes. If necessary add a ladle of pasta water. Cook on a medium heat for a few minutes and then turn off the heat. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.
  6. Serve whilst nice and hot!

See it on my blog

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Orecchiette con Salsiccia e Cime di Rapa (Orecchiette With Sausage and Broccoli Rabe) Recipe

Why It Works

  • Blanching broccoli rabe ensures it's tender, and using the blanching water to cook the pasta maximizes efficiency.
  • Garlic, a tiny bit of anchovy, and dried chiles form a flavorful base for the sauce, along with a splash of white wine for acidity and subtle sweetness that balances the bitterness of the rabe.
  • Starchy cooking water helps build an emulsified sauce, and finishing the pasta in the skillet ensures the orecchiette are well coated and perfectly al dente.

This dish is a meaty variation on Puglia's famed orecchiette con le cime di rapa. Both versions feature al dente pasta tossed with bitter broccoli rabe that's been cooked down into a sauce with olive oil, garlic, chiles, and starchy pasta cooking water. Here, fresh pork sausage and a splash of white wine join the party, filling in for the assertive savory punch of anchovies used in the cucina povera ("poor cuisine") classic. The sausage adds juicy fattiness and floral notes of fennel to the mix, while the sweet acidity of the wine balances the bite of the rabe. It's a richer dish, in more ways than one.

For purists, "cime" are just the tender leaves and florets of broccoli rabe. They are picked from the more fibrous stalks of the plant, which are then discarded or used for other purposes. For orecchiette con le cime di rapa, we recommend following this practice, as the texture in the dish should come from the chew of the pasta and the crunch of the toasted breadcrumb topping, rather than the vegetables. But for this dish, we blanch the tender stalks as well as the leaves and florets, so that they end up with the same light chew as the sausage.

Even though anchovies don't generally feature in sausage-and-rabe recipes, I still like to dissolve one or two fillets in oil along with the garlic and chiles. They provide background savoriness without announcing their presence in the dish. As with aglio e olio, the pasta finishes cooking in the "sauce," if you can call it that, which is just an emulsion of olive oil and the water used to cook the rabe and orecchiette. Because the water also has some flavor from the rapini, I like to use a lot of it to finish the pasta, leaving the sauce looser, on the very edge of being slightly brothy. Tossed, stirred, and swirled over high heat, this mixture forms a glossy coating for the noodles.

Whereas orecchiette con le cime di rapa is traditionally a no-cheese pasta, this version allows for a dairy exception. A small handful of grated salty cheese like Pecorino Romano is not out of the question, providing a sharp, tangy foil to the peppery olive oil and bitter greens. Of course, for those who prefer to keep the dish dairy-free, the crispy breadcrumbs used as a stand-in for cheese in the original will also work just fine.


  • 1/2 cup (120ml) dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 ounces (45g) golden raisins (about 1/4 cup)
  • Pinch saffron, optional
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons (67ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • 1 1/4 ounces (35g) panko bread crumbs (about 1/2 cup)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup minced peeled and cored fennel bulb (about half of one large 1 1/2-pound fennel bulb with fronds), fronds reserved
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion (about half of one large 1-pound onion)
  • 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1 1/4 ounces (35g) pine nuts (about 1/4 cup), toasted
  • 5 whole sardines (about 3/4 pound/340g total), filleted and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound (450g) bucatini or spaghetti

Start by cleaning the anchovies. In a previous post I showed how to do this with a small knife, but you can also do it with your fingers. First, snap off the head and discard it together with the innards attached to it.

With your finger, open up the belly and remove the remaining innards.

Remove the spine including the tail.

Rinse off the anchovy fillet under cold running water.

Arrange the anchovy fillets on paper towels to dry and repeat until you have cleaned all of them.

Cut the anchovy fillets into three pieces each.

Cut the broccoli into florets.

Pat the sundried tomatoes to remove the excess oil (assuming you are using sundried tomatoes from a jar with oil if you use the dry ones instead then you have to soak them in warm water to soften them up and then pat them dry). Mince the sundried tomatoes.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt and orecchiette, and cook al dente according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, cut the bread into cubes and put the cubes in the food processor.

Heat olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and add the breadcrumbs.

Sauté over medium heat, stirring.

Keep stirring until they are browned and crunchy.

Add the broccoli to the pasta about 6 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Add the sundried tomatoes, chili pepper, thyme leaves, and garlic, and sauté for a couple of minutes.

Sauté just until the anchovies are cooked. Discard the garlic.

By now the orecchiette and broccoli should be finished cooking. Drain the orecchiette and broccoli…

…and add them to the pan with the anchovies. Add the parsley.

Serve on preheated plates, sprinkled with the sautéed breadcrumbs.

‘Primi di Natale’ in Italy: Christmas Dinner’s First Courses from North to South

Italy boasts many regional Christmas recipes in fact, each region has a different typical first course dish. As a general rule of thumb, on Christmas Day, meat is more prevalent in the north, seafood in the south. Let’s have a look at the traditional Christmas primi of the 20 Italian regions (source: La Cucina Italiana magazine).

Trentino-Alto Adige

The classic first course is canederli with cheese, melted butter, Parmigiano Reggiano and sage. An alternative is offered by casunziei, the region’s ravioli with a crescent moon shape, stuffed with beetroot and potato puree, served after being sautéed with melted butter, poppy seeds and Parmigiano.

Valle d’Aosta

The tradition in this tiny north-western region calls for valpellinentze soup, made with cabbage, slices of stale bread, fontina cheese, broth, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Tajarin with porcini mushrooms is a classic of the Langhe area. Or how about tajarin with pancetta and the local Barbera wine? Another classic dish is agnolotti in broth, which, being in Piedmont, would also be good with white truffle from Alba.

Christmas lunch in Lombardy varies between two options: pumpkin tortelli from Mantua with amaretti and mostarda, or casoncelli (typical stuffed pasta of Lombardy) in broth from Bergamo.

Friuli Venezia Giulia

Potato gnocchi are the tradition here, served with montasio (a local mountain cheese) and leeks sauce.

Riso (rice) of course is the star here: risotto alla trevigiana made with radicchio from Treviso and smoked bacon (pancetta), riso coe cappe made with clams, and the classic risi e bisi alla veneta, ‘Venetian’ rice with peas.

Natalini in brodo are the traditional first course in Genoa: long macaroni served with capon broth accompanied by small meatballs or bite-sized sausage.


Tortellini in brodo is a must, with hyperlocal variations.

Cappelletti in brodo (broth) is the classic first course. An original alternative recommended by La Cucina Italiana? Try them with the classic Tuscan sauce cacio e pepe.

Christmas eve in Le Marche is seafood-rich, from stockfish to stews, whereas for Christmas dinner, a wide choice of first courses includes passatelli, cappelletti in capon broth, the classic vincisgrassi marchigiani, a rustic and tasty baked pasta served with a mixed meat ragu sauce, and maccheroncini di Campofilone, egg pasta served with ragù.

For the Christmas meal, Umbria is under the influence of neighboring Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, in fact the traditional primo is cappelletti in broth. But because this is Umbria, why not season them with black truffle from Norcia instead, suggests La Cucina Italiana.

Abruzzo features a seven-course meal, le sette minestre: chickpeas, lentils, fried cabbage, salted cod, pasta with tuna, capitone (large eel), white rice.

Il cenone, Christmas eve dinner, is similar to the one of the Neapolitan tradition, and includes baccalà (salted codfish) and capitone (large eel). Classic first courses include spaghetti with clams, or quadrucci (pasta squares) with ray broth, or soup with broccoli and ray.

This little-known southern Italian region has a little-known Christmas first course: zuppa di Franz (Franz soup), small pieces of pizza made with eggs, Parmigiano and parsley, in broth cardoon soup is an alternative, and can be found in neighboring Abruzzo as well.

The traditional first course on Christmas eve is spaghetti with clams. Variations include adding bottarga (fish eggs) or crumbs. You could also do spaghetti with seafood sauce (which must always include clams). For Christmas dinner, the classic is minestra maritata, a soup with chicory, endive, cabbage, borage and pork.

If you want to be 100% traditional here, then go for spaghetti with anchovy sauce on Christmas eve, and strascinati pasta (similar to orecchiette but larger and more open, typical of Basilicata) with ragù on Christmas Day.

In this southern Italian region, the heel of Italy’s boot, orecchiette pasta is the star, with the classic orecchiette con cime di rapa (broccoli rabe), or as alternatives, orecchiette with broccoli, anchovies and sundried tomatoes, or orecchiette with tuna, tomatoes and onions. Spaghetti with anchovy sauce is another popular option.

If you’re up for a 13-course dinner, then head to Calabria, where the traditional Christmas Day meal features no less than 13 portate, which include mixed fry with cauliflower and zeppole, stockfish stew, sausage with broccoli rabe, lampasciuni, baked pasta, spaghetti with bread crumbs and anchovies, meatballs, 'nduja, plus the leftovers from Christmas eve dinner.

One of the most traditional dishes on Christmas Eve dinner is pasta con le sarde, pasta with sardines while for Christmas Day lunch, it’s lasagne cacate (a name that is definitely uninviting), prepared with tomato, sausage and pork rind.

Fun to pronounce and delicious to eat, culurgiones de casu are ravioli filled with fresh pecorino cheese, chard, nutmeg and saffron, served with tomato sauce and grated pecorino.

Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe

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Orecchiette with broccoli rabe is one of the signature pasta dishes from Apulia, city of Bari in particular.

This is a classic &ldquopoor man&rsquos dish&rdquo or cucina povera that dates back to ancient times.

A couple of simple local ingredients like homemade pasta (orecchiette), seasonal veggies (broccoli rabe), anchovy fillets, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and peperoncino is what it takes to make an epic, world famous pasta.

Traditionally, orecchiete are made with durum wheat semolina flour (known as semola in Italian) and shaped by hand. In stores you can also find dry orecchiette pasta but I choose last one only if I have no other options. Fresh pasta ALWAYS beats its dry versions.

By the way, you can totally make this pasta with another typical pasta from Apulia, cavatelli.

Broccoli Rabe, also known as Rapini is a leafy vegetable that goes in season from late fall til early spring. Its light bitterness (when cooked) pairs perfectly with anchovies, garlic and peperoncino (hot pepper flakes).

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe is the most basic and classic version and it can be further enriched with flavors.

With Breadcrumbs

You can always lightly toast some breadcrumbs in extra virgin olive oil and top your orecchiette pasta right before serving.

With Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives

You can also add a couple of chopped dried tomatoes and marinated olives to the sauce in the pan.

I personally love adding a spoon of sun-dried tomato pesto instead. It adds an incredible flavor and aroma!

With sausage

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage seem to be the most popular variation outside Italy. To make it, simple brown Italian sausage (casing removed) in a separate skillet pan. Then add to the sauce and give everything a good toss.

“Sun-Dried” Tomatoes with Rosemary and Thyme

Alright, I’m using “sun-dried” very loosely here, as these little beauties are not…well…sun-dried at all. I just couldn’t bring myself to call these “sitting on a counter in a dehydrator” tomatoes. No, I like to imagine that they were patiently crafted in Italy, with tables upon tables of tomatoes laying out in the sun, as I sipped a Chianti and and read a good book. Alas, my reality is Minnesota, and I used a food dehydrator. Not quite as romantic, is it? Even so, these tomatoes are fantastic, and seriously recommend you give making them a try.

I love having a nice supply of sun-dried tomatoes to get me through the winter. Buying jarred versions at the market can be expensive, and to be honest, they’re just so simple to make. You can use any type of tomato, though smaller ones will require less cooking time. Roma’s are a fantastic choice– simply cut them in half or quarters. The tomatoes take time to dehydrate– perhaps a day or more for the thicker end pieces. I sprinkle mine with rosemary, thyme, with a little sea salt and cracked black pepper. The flavors are wonderful!

You can snack on them as soon as they’re dried, or preserve them to use later. As for the texture, some like them a bit chewier– I made sure mine were completely dry since I intended to preserve them. It’s really up to you how dry you want them to be. These tomatoes can be kept in airtight containers (plastic bags work well), vacuum sealed, or even stored in the freezer. I also made a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, and they are ridiculously delicious. These would make fabulous gifts around the holidays if you’re looking for something homemade to share. I hope you give these a try!

The Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomatoes with Rosemary and Thyme

any variety of tomatoes, sliced or halved

sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

To Dehydrate the Tomatoes: Slice the tomatoes or half them, depending upon their size. Sprinkle with the chopped herbs, salt and pepper. It will take about 24 hours to dehydrate a full load, sometimes longer depending upon how thick the tomatoes are sliced. Store in a resealable bag and use within a few weeks. Freeze any amount you want to keep longer.

To Oven-Dry them: Preheat oven to 200°F. Slice tomatoes and sprinkle with chopped herbs, salt and pepper. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. It will generally take between 2-6 hours (possibly more) to dry the tomatoes– much will depend upon how thickly they are sliced. Store in a resealable bag and use within a few weeks. Freeze any amount you want to keep longer.

To make Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil: Prepare dehydrated tomatoes by dipping them in white wine vinegar (this help keep bacterial growth from occuring) and shaking off any excess. Place in a small jar along with 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar. Then fill the jar up with olive oil. Make sure that all of the tomatoes are submerged. Store in the refrigerator and try to use within 2 weeks. If placing fresh herbs or garlic into your mix, you must use up the jar within 1 week. The olive oil will become hard in the refrigerator, simple let sit at room temperature for a few minutes before using. Be mindful to use clean utensils when removing the tomatoes from the jar.

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What you’ll need to make orecchiette with Sausage & Broccoli

Orecchiette is named for its shape, which resembles a small ear (the Italian word orecchiette means small ear). If you can’t find it, it’s fine to substitute another pasta, like farfalle or fusilli.

Buy bulk sausage, or sausage meat without the casing, if possible (it’s often easy to find around holiday season as it’s used in stuffing recipes). Otherwise, just squeeze the sausage meat out of the casing.

Pecorino Romano is a hard, salty, and pungent Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. It’s readily available in grated form in the cheese section of most large supermarkets but if you can’t find it, it’s fine to substitute Parmigiano Reggiano.

Pasta with anchovies, tomatoes, olives and garlic

Drain the oil from the anchovies into a large pan. Heat the oil, then add the garlic and cook for 1min. Add the anchovies and sun-dried tomatoes and cook, stirring, for a further 1min. Add the canned tomatoes and bring to the boil. Season well and simmer for 10-15min.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a pan of boiling salted water according to the instructions on the packet.

Add the black olives and capers to the tomato sauce and stir to mix in. Drain the pasta thoroughly, reserving around a ladleful of the cooking water. Return the spaghetti to the pan, then add the tomato sauce and chopped parsley and stir into the pasta, pouring in a little of the reserved cooking water to thin the sauce, if necessary. Toss the pasta well and serve immediately.

Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato and Broccoli Pasta

Had I typed up this post on Monday as intended, it would have been full of rants and whines. “How come cars don’t always turn on when we need them to?” I would have asked. “Why do little brothers have to make big mistakes, and will that giant pile of dirty laundry just wash itself already?!”

While we’re playing this game, why can’t I live in a world where days expand to fit workloads, and first dates are better than awkward? Rant, rant, rant.

Fortunately, I got all of that out of my system in conversations with friends and family. What I am left with is a deep sense of gratitude. I’m so lucky to have good friends that I can always call on for help (as much as I don’t want to ask). I’m also thankful for parents who empathize rather than chastise.

If you must know, here’s what happened: I might have (maybe) ignored my low gas warning light (for a little too long) and run out of gas without knowing it… so when I went to move my car, it wouldn’t budge from its rather unfortunate parking spot. My car got towed while I was on the phone with AAA. May Monday go down in history as the day I spent $200 on a tank of gas.

I also owe a big thank you to you, dear readers. Thank you for coming to my little corner of the web. Your visits and comments never go unappreciated and I am perpetually astonished that you cook this dummy’s recipes. Your encouraging words are all the motivation I need to keep on blogging. Furthermore, your visits and those not-so-cute ads in the sidebar helped me pay for that unexpected expense out of pocket. It’s not much, but making money doing what I love to do is a gift. So thanks for bailing me out, friends! Your support means the world to me.

Now that the car fiasco is behind us, let’s talk about this recipe. It called my name the first time I flipped through Susie Middleton’s The Fresh & Green Table. The words “spicy” and “garlicky” caught my attention, but what really captured it is the cooking method. She quickly infuses olive oil with red pepper flakes and garlic, reserving it to toss with crisp, cooked broccoli at the end. It’s also rather creamy without being loaded with heavy cream since goat cheese melts into a rich sauce when mixed with warm pasta and leftover cooking water. Genius, right?

Watch the video: How to Cook Orecchiette Pasta with Jamie Oliver (May 2022).