‘Cime di rape’ broccoli pasta recipe


This tasty broccoli pasta recipe hails from the Puglia region of Italy and uses a very particular type of leafy broccoli.

broccoli pasta recipe

Traditionally grown in Southern Italy but likely available from your local farmers market or Italian store, cime di rape (pronounced ‘chee-may dee rah-pay’ in Italian) or rapini features large green leaves rather than typical broccoli heads.

With this scrummy dish – called orecchiette con cime di rapa - these leaves are simply boiled, fried a little, mixed with chili powder and served with orecchiette ‘small ear’ pasta.

The confusing part? This broccoli pasta recipe is known by various names. In Italy my family-in-laws refer to it as cime di rapa, but you also have cime di rape (the plural version) and also broccoli rapa. Meanwhile outside of Italy you might hear it called broccoli raab instead.

Enough info for you? Then let’s get cooking…

Serves 2-3

Ingredients: (For a printable PDF shopping list click here, or right-click and choose 'Save target/link as' to save it for later.

orecchiette con cime di rapa600g/21oz cime di rape leafy broccoli

300-350g/10.5-12oz orecchiette pasta (make it fresh here)

1 garlic clove

Chili powder

Extra virgin olive oil

Optional: grated parmesan, pecorino or romano cheese


Pasta pan

Frying pan


STEP 1 - Rinse the broccoli thoroughly and prepare it like this:

cleaning broccoli di raap rapa- Small/medium-length stalks with their leaves are ideal.

- Remove any particularly hard-feeling large leaves.

- Chop off the large ends of the thickest stalks.

- When done, rinse again.

STEP 2 - Throw in a full pasta pan of boiling water (including ½ tablespoon of salt, which helps the veg stay green).

- When the thickest stalks soften, you’re done (roughly 5–7 mins).

- Use a spaghetti spoon or sieve spoon/tongs to remove leaves from the water.

- Put leaves on a plate and keep the flavored water – we’ll use this for boiling the pasta!

STEP 3 - Cover the base of frying pan with oil. Add the garlic clove and fry on medium heat hob until golden.

broccoli pasta recipe- Take pan off heat and remove clove.

- Still off the heat, add the broccoli, teaspoon of chili powder and pinch of salt.

- Pop back on the heat and fry 2-3 mins until excess water evaporates.

STEP 4 - Get the brocolli water boiling, add small glug of oil, and cook orecchiette as per its packet’s instructions (or just 2 mins for fresh orecchiette).

STEP 5 - Drain pasta, add to frying pan along with a handful of grated parmesan, and mix through over a medium heat for 2 mins.


Green fingered?

Why not grow your own cime di rapa? You can buy seeds here and here.

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