Puntarelle Pasta with Burrata

Puntarelle Pasta with Burrata.

The Romans are crazy about puntarelle, the flower shoots of Catalonian chicory, and you will be too after you have tried this delicious puntarelle pasta with burrata.

puntarelle pasta with burrata

Cavatelle con Puntarelle e Burrata.

Puntarelle are most probably a vegetable that many have never heard of. They are, in fact, the flower shoots of Catalonian chicory (cicoria catalogna), a member of the chicory family that also includes endive, escarole and all those delicious varieties of radicchio, such as Castelfranco, Verona, Treviso and Tardivo.

puntarelle pasta with burrata

Italians love chicories, many of which have been cultivated here in Veneto, where I live, since the 15th century. However, puntarelle, also known as asparagus chicory, are cultivated further south and are especially popular in Rome and Puglia.

puntarelle pasta with burrata

Roman recipes for puntarelle

The Romans eat puntarelle both in a delicious traditional salad with an anchovy sauce, called puntarelle alla romana, and in pasta. Although uncommon outside of Italy, puntarelle are beginning to become popular with restaurant chefs in US and other countries. So, some farmers are growing this type of chicory now. And, I know it’s possible to find it at some UK or US farmers markets. If you see them, buy them! You won’t be disappointed!

The most traditional Roman way to serve puntarelle with pasta is very similar to this recipe, although without the burrata and with spaghetti. However, the puntarelle I bought came from Puglia. In fact, Puglia cultivates the most puntarelle in Italy. So, I decided to prepare this puntarelle with pasta and another typical ingredient from Puglia, namely cavatelli pasta and the burrata.

puntarelle cooking in frying pan

Like other types of chicory, puntarelle can be a little bitter but if you soak them in ice-cold water after removing the leaves and cutting them into thin strips, the bitterness goes. They also curl up in the water. In Rome, you can find vegetable sellers with bowls of puntarelle already soaking and ready to use.

How to make puntarelle with pasta and burrata

For this puntarelle with pasta recipe I didn’t soak them for very long since I wanted to cook them, not eat them raw. Most chicories become less bitter when cooked. Apart from the puntarelle, this recipe has very few ingredients.

cooked puntarelle and cavatelli pasta in frying pan

As is typical in Lazio and Southern Italy, I melted anchovy fillets in the heated olive oil before adding the garlic and vegetables. Many people don’t like anchovies. However,  in Italian cuisine, they are not used to add a fishy flavour to a dish, but rather to add depth and complexity and give the dish an umami quality. You really don’t taste the anchovies.

Apart from the anchovies, this puntarelle pasta recipe includes just some garlic, burrata from Puglia and toasted breadcrumbs. The latter are used instead of grated cheese on many pasta dishes in Southern Italy!

toasted breadcrumbs in frying pan

This puntarelle with pasta recipe can be made with other types of pasta. Spaghetti is traditional in Rome. I like using cavatelli as I think it works better with chunkier sauces. If you want to make your own cavatelli, check out my recipe for homemade cavatelli with oyster mushrooms. You could also use other types of short pasta like casarecce or fusilli.

puntarelle pasta with burrata

This recipe can be used with other veggies such as endive, escarole or even broccoli. However, of course the flavours will be different.

If you make this puntarelle pasta with burrata recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.

Your feedback means a lot to me!

Buon Appetito!

Other delicious cavatelli recipes on the Pasta Project.

  1. Cavatelli with rocket (arugula)
  2. Homemade cavatelli pasta with oyster mushrooms
  3. Cavatelli with peperoni cruschi (Senise peppers)

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5 from 18 votes
puntarelle pasta with burrata
Puntarelle pasta with burrata
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr

The star of this recipe is puntarelle, the flower shoots of a type of  chicory called Catalonian chicory, which together with anchovies, garlic, toasted breadcrumbs and burrata makes this is a mouthwatering recipe full of typical Southern Italian flavours. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Central Italy, Italian, Puglia, Rome & Lazio, Southern Italian
Keyword: burrata, cavatelli, chicory, past recipe, puglia, puntarelle, Rome
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
  • 400 g cavatelli pasta (14oz)
  • 400 g puntarelle chicory (14oz) weight without all the leaves
  • 4 anchovy fillets (preserved in oil or salt)
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 g breadcrumbs (3.5oz)
  • 200 g burrata (7oz)
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • peperoncino flakes (red chili pepper) optional as required
  1. Clean the puntarelle: If you have bought a whole Catalonian chicory you will have to remove all the outer leaves to get to the puntarelle, which are in the 'heart' of the chicory. These leaves can be cooked too although they are quite bitter, they're good in soups.  Once you have removed the dark outer leaves and their stalks cut off a little of the bottom of the puntarelle and separate them. slice them finely lengthwise. Soak the cut shoots in some ice cold water for 15 minutes, drain and pat dry. 

  2. In the meantime, bring a pot of water to the boil. Add salt and bring to the boil again. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Fresh pasta will cook very quickly.

  3. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a pan and melt the anchovies into it, with the garlic clove and some chilli pepper flakes if using. 

  4. Add the puntarelle and let it cook for a few minutes, stirring continuously. if the puntarelle get too dry add a few tablespoons of pasta cooking water.

  5. In a separate small frying pan, toast the breadcrumbs with two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Stir frequently and be careful not to burn the breadcrumbs.

  6. Drain the pasta al dente and add to the puntarelle. Add the breadcrumbs. Mix everything together over a high heat. 

  7. Drain and cut the burrata into pieces. Add the burrata to the pasta, don't mix it in. It's nice to do it while eating.  Serve immediately. 

Recipe Notes

Puntarelle are the flower shoots of Catalonian chicory. In Italy, it is possible to buy just the puntarelle but you may have to buy a whole chicory and remove the outer leaves to get to the puntarelle.

This recipe can be made with other types of chicory, such as endive or escarole but the flavours will be slightly different.

In Rome spaghetti is the most traditional pasta for puntarelle pasta. But other short pasta, such as casarecce or fusilli,  works well too.

Want to know more about my life in Italy? Go to the homepage and subscribe to my newsletter. New subscribers get a free recipe e-book too! https://www.the-pasta-project.com

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puntarelle pasta with burrata

Watch this video from West Coast seeds to learn more about puntarelle.

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  • Avatar
    March 28, 2020 8:02 pm

    Cooked this for lunch today after finding some Puntarelle in our local market in Barcelona. It was the first time we’d had cooked Puntarelle and it was delicious in the pasta dish. I look forward to trying other dishes on your site. Thanks

  • Avatar
    Danielle Wolter
    April 5, 2019 1:08 pm

    this looks absolutely incredible. I love pastas that incorporate anchovies, they have such a wonderful flavor. Plus, the burrata just adds something special!

  • Avatar
    Danielle Wolter
    February 14, 2019 8:51 pm

    i saw burrata and was immediately intrigued. This looks like a great pasta dish – I am loving all the flavors.

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 7:35 pm

      Thank you Danielle! Yes burrata really makes this dish beautifully creamy and the puntarelle are full of flavour too!

  • Avatar
    Amanda Wren-Grimwood
    December 13, 2018 5:13 pm

    I would love to try the puntarelle. This pasta dish looks really delicious!

  • Avatar
    Geetha Priyanka
    December 13, 2018 4:22 pm

    I have never heard of puntarelle. This is such a great recipe to include healthy greens in our diet. Thanks for sharing this easy and quick pasta recipe.

  • Avatar
    Claudia Canu
    December 13, 2018 1:33 pm

    I must admit that I’m Italian (from Sardinia) and it’s the first time I learned about Puntarelle haha It looks delicious and I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  • Avatar
    December 12, 2018 8:13 pm

    This looks so delicious! Unique ingredients & so many great flavors!

  • Avatar
    December 12, 2018 7:46 pm

    This is a very unique and interesting recipe! I haven’t heard of puntarlle either and it does look like a mini fennel. Great to see something new and different out there! Cheers

  • Avatar
    Cindy @ The Sweet Nerd
    December 12, 2018 7:30 pm

    I love Italy, we went there last summer and we have a trip booked for next summer. Thanks for providing me with insight into a Roman dish – I love getting tips from across the world!

  • Avatar
    December 12, 2018 7:25 pm

    The pasta looks lip smacking…lovely way to make a easy,delicious meal quick way

  • Avatar
    December 12, 2018 7:24 pm

    I have never cooked with chicory, I love this new idea.

  • Avatar
    December 12, 2018 5:52 pm

    Mmmmm, what a beautifully looking pasta dish! Amazing ingredients. I will need to look for cavatelli pasta
    and the puntarelle chicory which I have never seen around here – must be soo good! Amazing and I would love to try this pasta dish as soon as possible.

  • Avatar
    Corina Blum
    December 12, 2018 3:18 pm

    I hadn’t heard of puntarelle before but I love green vegetables and this pasta recipe looks so tasty. I’m always willing to try something new!

  • Avatar
    Caralyn @ BeautyBeyondBones
    December 11, 2018 7:35 am

    what an interesting shape! looks absolutely delicious! hugs xo

  • Avatar
    Andrea Metlika
    December 9, 2018 11:48 pm

    This looks and sounds Wonderful! I can’t wait to make this.

  • Avatar
    December 9, 2018 11:34 pm

    I’ve never heard of puntarelle, but now I’m intrigue. I hope I can find some to try!

  • Avatar
    Pam Greer
    December 9, 2018 10:53 pm

    Oh I wish I could find chicory around here. I wonder if the farmer’s market in Atlanta would have it? I really want to try this, it sounds delicious!

  • Avatar
    December 9, 2018 9:40 pm

    I have never tried chicory before. I need to try this recipe. Sounds so tempting.

  • Avatar
    Kelli Kerkman
    December 9, 2018 9:21 pm

    I’m going to have to try to find this chicory! Looks so good.

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