Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Garlic and Pine Nuts

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 25m

Serves 4

A variety of small, round pasta shaped like little ears, orecchiette are typically found in southern Italian trattorias, especially those in Apulia. Broccoli rabe has longer stems, smaller flower heads and a somewhat more bitter flavor than regular broccoli, which can be substituted.


  • 1 pound broccoli rabe
  • 3/4 pound dried orecchiette
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1-2 fresh small red chilies, seeded and sliced into thin rings
  • 4 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable or meat stock
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (fresh coriander), optional
  • Freshly grated good-quality Italian Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

Companion recipe: Meat Stock Vegetable Stock


Trim any tough portions from the broccoli rabe, then cut the stems and leaves into 1-inch lengths; leave the florets whole. Place the stems on a steamer rack over (not touching) gently boiling water; cover and steam for 2-3 minutes. Add the leaves and florets and steam until cooked through yet firm when pierced with a fork, 2-3 minutes longer. Remove from the rack and set aside.

Fill a deep pot three-fourths full with salted water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and stir gently to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Cook until al dente, 10-12 minutes or according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the onion and pine nuts and sauté until the onion is translucent and the pine nuts are lightly golden, about 3 minutes; do not allow the onion to brown. Add the chilies and garlic and sauté for a few seconds until very fragrant. Add the broccoli rabe and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 minute.

Drain the orecchiette briefly in a colander and immediately add it to the frying pan. Toss well. Add the parsley and cilantro, if using, and toss well again. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and sprinkle with the cheese. Serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2247

nutrition information per serving

591 calories; 23g total fat; 8mg cholesterol; 51mg sodium; 80g carbohydrates; 5g fiber; 20g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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