The Puglia Lady's orecchiette and rabe

By • July 19, 2009 • 2 Comments

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Author Notes: There was a shop near our apartment in Rome that sold specialities from Puglia in southern Italy -- mostly great buffalo mozzarella. Was run by an oldish woman who bossed around her grumbly husband. We started calling the shop the Puglia Lady's. She spoke quickly, so it was hard to understand her. But she was very happy to slow down and give any advice asked. This was one of her recipes, a very simple Roman favorite, despite that she was from Puglia. As always, the better the ingredients, especially the anchovies, the better this tastes. Also, watch the pasta like a hawk. This can get mushy quickly. fisheri

Serves 4

  • 1 bunch rabe
  • 1 packet orrecchiette
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 anchovies packed in oil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • red pepper to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh grated parmigiano
  1. Boil large pot of water, generously salted
  2. Rinse rabe, removing any stems that might be too tough to eat
  3. Dice garlic and anchovies. Some people like to rinse the oil off the anchovies. I like them all salty and oily.
  4. Pour three tablespoons of olive oil into a small saucepan over medium heat.
  5. Add garlic, anchovies and red pepper to taste. Remember that this small sauce will season a whole package of pasta, so better to add more pepper if you like it spicy.
  6. Saute for a few minutes, until the anchovies are dissolved. Turn off heat.
  7. Add rabe to boiling water. Cook for about five minutes.
  8. Add orrecchiette to boiling rabe and water. Cook the pasta to the underside of al dente because, again, this can turn to mush and the pasta gets a little more heat later.
  9. When pasta is nearly done, reheat sauce if necessary. Drain pasta and rabe but not too much. A little water adds to the sauce.
  10. Return pasta and rabe to the pot and, with a spatula, scoop all the garlic, oil, anchovy and spice on top. Mix it all well for a minute or two over medium heat.
  11. Check for salt and add a bit of black pepper if desired.
  12. Serve in bowls with a little splash of olive oil and parmegiano.
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Tags: family, Italian, Italian, simple

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about 5 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Hey Ian,

Your recipe sounds good. Is the broccoli rabe supposed to get really soft and fall apart a little?

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about 5 years ago fisheri

a little but not too much. again, you dont want mush.