Orecchiette con Broccoli


Recipe: Orecchiette con Broccoli

Cookbook : Delicious Journeys p.53 – Buy Now

My Nonna would make these “little-ear” shaped pasta for huge family gatherings…a real labour of love as each piece is hand rolled, and my extended family is quite large.

You could use other types of pasta (such as penne) but this classic dish, which originates from my family’s Puglia region in Italy, is one of our family favourites.

Puglia in Southern Italy, is renowned for its cucina povera. Literally translated, “cucina povera” means “poor kitchen” and centuries ago the cooking traditions of the region were shaped by the resourcefulness and frugal ways families were fed with whatever could be foraged from the earth during difficult and poorer times. From humble beginnings, this “cucina povera” is now acclaimed as one of the healthiest diets of the world, made up of olive oil, wild greens, pulses, egg-less hard durum wheat pasta, and now served in some of the finest restaurants around the world.

With only eight ingredients, this dish is Italian fast-food at its finest!


(Serves 6)  – or four Italians!

1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets and stems sliced, about 500g
500g good quality durum wheat pasta (I use orecchiette, but you can use whatever shaped pasta you prefer)
100ml (4 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
6 anchovy fillets, chopped (or 1-2 tsp salted capers)
1 red chilli, finely chopped (deseeded if preferred)
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
2 tbsp basil, chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste
Freshly grated parmigiano, to serve

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil with 4 tbsp salt and then add pasta and cook to al dente (use the packet instructions for suggested cooking time, as all pasta’s have different times).

  2. Five minutes before pasta is cooked, add broccoli florets to pot with pasta.

  3. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large pan or saucepan and saute the garlic, anchovy (or capers, chopped) and chilli until aromatic and garlic is golden. (Use a little of the pasta water to keep pan from drying out). Keep warm until pasta and broccoli is cooked.

  4. Drain pasta & broccoli and add to pan with garlic, chilli & anchovy/caper  mixture.

  5. Add parsley & basil and stir to combine evenly to coat pasta.

  6. Serve sprinkled with parmigiano and seasoned with fresh cracked black pepper.

Buon appetito!


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