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Orecchiette Pasta with Romanesco Broccoli
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5 from 19 votes

Orecchiette pasta with Romanesco broccoli

This tasty and nutritious pasta with Romanesco broccoli is based on a traditional dish from Puglia, Southern Italy. It's easy to make and, of course, you can use other types of broccoli.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Puglia, Southern Italian
Keyword: anchovies, burrata, orecchiette, pasta recipe, Romanesco broccoli
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono


  • 400 g orecchiette (14 oz)
  • 1 large Romanesco broccoli or 2 small
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
  • 4 anchovy fillets in olive oil. Drained and cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 fresh red chili (peperoncino) or tsp dried flakes
  • 150 g burrata (5-6 oz) or fresh mozzarella
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • black pepper to taste


Prepare the ingredients

  • Wash the broccoli and cut off the stalk and break it into florets. Peel and chop the garlic. If using fresh peperoncino, cut it open, remove the seeds and cut into small pieces (use as much as you require depending on how spicy you like your food. I would recommend 1 tsp). Cut the anchovies into small pieces.

Make the condiment

  • Cook the Romanesco broccoli florets in plenty of salted water for about 10 minutes (they need to be quite firm), then drain them, rinse under cold water to preserve the colour and put them aside.
  • While the broccoli is cooking, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan or iron skillet with the chopped garlic and the anchovies. Add a little dried or fresh chili pepper according to your taste. Cook until the garlic has softened and the anchovies have melted.
  • When the anchovies have melted add the drained Romanesco broccoli florets and cook over a low heat until the florets start to break apart. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Cook the pasta.

  • Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil. Bring to the boil again and add the pasta. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. When the pasta is ready, save a cup of the cooking water and drain. 

Finish the dish.

  • Add the pasta to the broccoli with a little of the saved cooking water. Mix everything together. Cook for a minute over a high heat. If it seems dry add a little more pasta cooking water.
  • Cut the burrata into pieces and add it to the pasta and broccoli, mix and serve immediately. The combination of the warm pasta and the cold burrata is delicious. You can also add a dash of olive oil. Even more delicious! 


If you can't find burrata you can use mozzarella instead.
Normal broccoli works very well in this recipe too. In fact, in Puglia, that's what they use.