Orecchiette Pasta with Broccolini

This is a great alternative the more common Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe. There is no sausage in this recipe and you don’t even miss it! This is MY KIND OF PASTA!
This recipe takes very few ingredients yet is so flavor packed! Gennaro Contaldo’s original recipe used Broccoli Rabe or Broccoli as a substitution. 

I didn’t want to use standard broccoli as it get mushy too fast. And I’m not a lover of Broccoli Rabe.

So I remembered I bought some Broccolini for my Beef Noodle Bowl, but never used it, so I had all the ingredients to make this recipe as a weeknight side dish.

You just saute the garlic, chili pepper and anchovies (or I used anchovy paste) in some olive oil. Yes, I said anchovies… Don’t omit them. They add a great flavor to this dish.

Ziploc Zip n Steam Bags

The original recipe calls to cook the broccolini in the boiling water before you put the pasta in. When cutting broccolini, the delicate heads really break up. So I remembered I had some of those Ziploc microwave bags, which are very handy when cooking vegetables such as broccoli in the microwave. So, I put the broccolini in the microwave for 2 minutes. Just don’t overcook, you don’t want to get the broccolini mushy.

Add the broccolini to the garlic, chili pepper and anchovy and mix. Add a large spoonful of pasta water and cover and cook for a couple of minutes. 

When the orecchiette is cooked, use a slotted spoon or spider strainer and add pasta to the broccolini mixture. Add a little more pasta water if necessary. Cook over medium high heat until well combined.

Add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Serve in bowls with some additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

This recipe is so easy and uses very little ingredients. You’ll want to make it over and over.

This is all that was left from a 3/4 pound box of pasta for two people!

Simple cooking from Italy…it doesn’t get any better than that! Jamie, you’re friend Gennaro sure does know how to throw a few ingredients together and make a fantastic dish!

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Orecchiette Pasta with Broccolini

  • Author: Afoodieaffair



2 heads of broccolini, cut into small pieces (stems and all)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (not minced)
1/2 red chili, finely chopped (omit seeds)
4 anchovy fillets (or a few squeezes anchovy paste)
3/4 pound dried orecchiette pasta
Sea salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp dried parsley
approx 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly grated Parmesan for topping


Boil a large pan of salted water. When water begins to boil, add dried pasta and cook for 9 minutes.

In a wok or saute pan on medium heat, add olive oil.

Add garlic, chili and anchovy. Cook until anchovies have melted or if using anchovy paste, until vegetables have begun to soften.

While vegetable are cooking, cook broccolini in a microwave bag in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Add broccolini to garlic mixture and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add a large spoonful of pasta water and cover and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add orecchiette, mixing together with a little more pasta water if needed. Cook over medium high heat for a minute.

Add freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Place in serving bowls and top with more freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


I cook the broccolini for 2 minutes in my microwave which is 1200 watts. If you have a smaller wattage oven adjust time to a little longer.


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