Pasta dishes

“Little ears” with cime di rapa

If I remember rightly, my first recipe post on Two Hobs, No Oven was Orecchiette Semplice. Well this week I finally got round to Orecchiette con le cime di rapa!!

This is the most traditional dish of Puglia, especially in the Bari where I currently call home. Now to make this particular pasta dish you need some even more particular ingredients which you can find here…

… the backstreets of Bari Vecchia

If you wander around the backstreets of Bari Vecchia for just a few minutes you’ll find yourself in the best mini-market in Bari. It’s filled with nonnas lovingly making orecchiette by hand and fruit and veg vendors shouting incomprehensible offers in Barese dialect. Oh and watch out for the vespas that go screeching round the alleyways at 70 miles an hour, they wait for no man.

So once you’ve dodged the vespas and haggled with the nonnas for some fresh orecchiette, you need another peculiar ingredient: le cime di rapa. Cime di rapa translates as ‘turnip tops’ in English, while it’s better known as broccoli rabe in America after being introduced there by Italian immigrants.


It’s a green, leafy vegetable that’s only cultivated in 3 regions in Italy: Lazio, Campania and la mia bella Puglia. It has a slightly bitter taste, it’s a bit like kale but tastier and it has little broccoli sprigs attached to it. And once you put it with some anchovies and garlic, it takes on a whole different magical flavour. So if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on this rare superfood, have a bash at the recipe below and you’ll be addicted!

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 200g orecchiette pasta
  • 500g cime di rapa
  • 3 anchovy fillets (from a jar)
  • half a clove of garlic
  • 1 peperoncino
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes


  1. Prepare the cime di rapa – rip the leaves and broccoli sprouts off the stalks, put them in a colander and give them a good wash.
  2. Bring half a pan of water to the boil and add the cime di rapa – boil for 10/15 minutes
  3. Place a small pan under a colander to catch the water from the cime di rapa, you need this water to boil and flavour the orecchiette.
  4. Place the pan with the water from the cime di rapa on the stove, once it’s boiling add the orecchiette and cook for 10 minutes (dry) or 3-5 minutes (fresh).
  1. While the pasta is boiling, half the tomatoes and chop up the garlic, peperoncino and anchovies.
  2. Add the ingredients to a hot frying pan with a little olive oil and cook for 5 mins.
  3. Chop up the cime di rapa and add it to the frying pan, stir and turn down the heat.
  4. Once the orecchiette is al dente, drain and catch the water in a cup.
  5. Add the orecchiette to the cime di rapa, stir and add a bit of the pasta water to thicken the sauce.
  6. Enjoy with a glass of white wine on the side


And there you have it! Orecchiette con le cime di rapa!!


Work that hob and Walk unafraid people!!

-H    Xx


2 thoughts on ““Little ears” with cime di rapa

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