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Orecchiette Cime di Rapa

Blog Italian traditional meal Pasta Recipe

written by Addevico Valentino


 Orecchiette with Cime di Rapa (turnip tops) is probably the most famous dish of the Apulian tradition.

Cima di Rapa is a typical agricultural vegetable in Southern Italy, in particular in Lazio, Puglia, Molise, and Campania. In addition to its goodness and versatility in cooking, turnip greens are highly appreciated from a nutritional point of view because it contains minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and has a low-calorie content.

The Orecchiette, on the other hand, is a type of artisanal Pugliese pasta made strictly by hand, and in fact, this dish has been exalted by the Apulian families, specifically by the Pugliese grandmothers who ground kilos of Orecchiette with turnip tops. 

History of Orecchiette with turnip tops 

The origins of this incredible and tasty traditional Apulian recipe can probably be traced back to the Middle Ages: that's right, we're not kidding, right to the Middle Ages.

It seems that, at this time, a pasta very similar to orecchiette was produced, using the typical durum wheat of the “Tavoliere delle Puglie”. This type of pasta was very thick and in a shape that resembled small discs hollowed in the center.

There are many documents that certify that large quantities of this pasta were embarked on ships departing from Puglia, to face the long routes.

According to the most authoritative studies, the orecchiette would have originated in the territory of Sannicandro di Bari between the 12th and 13th centuries.

But now enough of the story and let's move on to practice!

How to prepare orecchiette with turnip tops 

After this "binge" of history, it's time to find out how to prepare orecchiette with turnip tops.

We specify that this recipe that we are about to present to you, involves a small change to the original recipe while maintaining the original basic ingredients of the recipe, which are: Orecchiette, Cime di Rapa, EVO Oil, Anchovies, and Chilli.

To make this dish for four people we need:

  • 400 gr Apulian Orecchiette;
  • Turnip tops or 1 jar of turnip tops in The Italian Club extra virgin olive oil;
  • EVO oil as needed;
  • 3 anchovy fillets in oil;
  • Chili pepper;
  • Salt to taste.

Are you ready to start?

In a pan, pour the extra virgin olive oil (instead you can use the turnip greens oil- if you are using the in oil one), garlic and chili, and sauté.

Immediately after we use half of the turnip greens (if you use the jar, half a jar is enough) and sauté them in a pan with the oil.

In the meantime, while we are waiting for the Cime di Rapa, pour the Senatore Cappelli wheat orecchiette in abundant salted boiling water, which we will drain a few minutes before cooking time.

Now comes the time of the small variation: we are going to create a cream of turnip tops.

Take the other half of the Turnip greens and put them in the mixer with oil and a little cooking water. We blend everything until obtaining a creamy consistency.

Drain the orecchiette al dente and toss them in a pan with the turnip greens and the cream made previously. If you need to, to create the right consistency, you can help yourself with a little pasta cooking water. 

Now is the time to prepare the table, because now is the best time, let's go and taste this fabulous dish.

Enjoy your meal!

It is not enough? Check out our video recipe!

Moreover, we thought of the Puglia Box, just for those who can't do without Apulia's products: for the nostalgic, for those who want to taste them and also for those who live far from it.

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