Orecchiette With Rapini and Crispy Bread Crumbs

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I’ve had orecchiette on my mind for awhile. Orecchiette are a small pasta translated from Italian as “little ears”.

Many wonder what’s behind the Italians’ madness for having so many different shapes for basically the same pasta recipe? Well, after having this dish I’m convinced that pairing the type of pasta to the sauce is equally important to say, proper seasoning.

This rapini dish would not have worked using a spaghetti or say a macaroni. Just look at how the basins of the orecchiette hold the sauce in it! Now I know why orecchiette time & time over again are often paired with rapini. This was a fabulously tasty vegetarian dish that’s easy, done in the time it takes to boil the pasta and inexpensive.

Rapini is also know as broccoli rabe or in Italian, “cime di rape”. It’s a common vegetable in Italian and Chinese cuisine. It’s slightly bitter (in a good way) and I found a pleasant nuttyness to it. Rapini is also a relative to the turnip and with it being a green veg, it’s loaded with vitamins A,C, K and has lots of iron, calcium and potassium.

Mark this entry as my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging #109 and it’s hosted this week by Vanessa at What Geeks Eat.

© 2007,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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16 Comments for “Orecchiette With Rapini and Crispy Bread Crumbs”

Laurie Constantino


Nice picture Peter. It really makes your point about the need to use pasta like orecchiette in this dish. And is very appetizing! (More good Friday food…)

Bellini Valli


I will have to give rapini a try. I don’t think I have seen it in any of the markets here in our small community, but, there is a new place “Choices” that seems to have a wide variety of non-ordinary items. I will try them!



Looks great but never heard of rapini before. Can you suggest something else I can find in Greece or just broccoli?



Nice recipe, Peter. My grocery store has recently started carrying rapini, and I’ve been looking for some ways to use it.



Last year A Veggie Venture was doing a while month of recipes for Broccoli Rabe (as it’s called here.) I had the hardest time finding some, but when I finally did, I loved it. This looks like the perfect pasta shape for this dish, gorgeous.



This is a job well done on a very traditional dish..and from my grandparents region! Great, Peter :)

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen


I just love orecchiette, the little ears and you hit the nail on the head for the various pasta shapes – different ones are just necessary depending on what gets mixed with it!



It’s gorgeous! Such brilliant colors!
And yes, we should accept that the Italians probably know what they’re doing when it comes to pasta pairings.



Hi Peter,

I have just noticed this dish! How did you come about this dish? My Italian flatmate taught me how to make this and now it is one of my favourites. Really simple and really tasty! We make our orecchiette by hand, and in fact last night we were doing just that! Fantastic :) She brings back her “rapini” from Italy and we freeze them.



Is “rapinni” the same as kale, and if not, does anybody know what kale is in Greek? Answers to “mbash1944@yahoo.com” Thanks to one and all.