Orecchiette with broccoli

Image by Hein Stirred www.heinstirred.com

Shaped like 'little ears', orecchiette are one of my favourite types of pasta: they cup little morsels of sauce as you shovel the good stuff in ya gob! This signature Puglian dish makes for a healthy, satisfying meal. My version is a tad easier than traditional methods, using frozen broccoli florets. You can add chopped anchovies and chili too, for an extra flavour hit.

Hot tip: this dish pairs well with a glass of red vino.

(serves 2)


  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 200 grams frozen broccoli florets

  • 1/2 cup of water

  • 2 tablespoons of salt

  • 200 grams orecchiette pasta

  • 100 grams grated Parmesan

  • 1 teaspoon of chili flakes (optional)

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a small pan, heat the olive oil and garlic. Once garlic is bubbling and golden, remove from heat and set aside.

  2. In a separate small saucepan add broccoli, water and salt. Cover and cook on medium heat until the broccoli are bright green and tender.

  3. Add the olive oil and garlic to the saucepan and stir on low heat, uncovered. Keep stirring and squashing the broccoli until it becomes creamy, then remove from heat and set aside.

  4. Meanwhile, boil a large pot of salted water and cook orecchiette until al dente (~8-10 minutes). Before draining, reserve half a cup of pasta water.

  5. Bring the pasta back to the pot and add the broccoli sauce. Stir all together and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Season with chili flakes, salt and pepper to taste. If the pasta looks dry, add some of the reserved pasta water and stir through.

  6. Serve with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan.