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ORECCHIETTE PASTA WITH TURNIP TOPS

Orecchiette pasta with turnip tops is a typical Apulian dish, today known throughout Italy and beyond national borders.
Orecchiette are a type of pasta combined, in the recipe considered traditional, with Rapini (turnip tops) without adding other vegetables. They also go well with broccoli and turnip tops sauce as well as with ragù sauce.
Here we will see the original recipe of orecchiette with turnip tops, and some variations.

ORECCHIETTE PASTA WITH TURNIP TOPS ORIGINAL RECIPE

What exactly is the original recipe of orecchiette with turnip tops?
Some believe that anchovy fillets are mandatory, others consider them optional.
Then, how much to use of each ingredient is another point that I would leave a little open: who knows how much chili used those who first prepared the recipe for orecchiette with turnip tops?
Finally, as far as preparation is concerned, there are those who indicate that turnip tops are added to pasta during cooking, while others indicate to boil turnip tops and then cook the pasta in the same water.
Some things, however, seem quite clear: the original recipe does not contain Parmigiano Reggiano or other cheeses, nor tomatoes or other vegetables besides turnip tops.

Orecchiette pasta with turnip tops original recipe: ingredients for 4 persons

  • 1 kg turnip tops
  • 400 g orecchiette
  • 10 – 12 anchovy fillets in oil
  • Garlic 2 or 3 cloves
  • 2 or 3 chillies
  • Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

The original recipe of orecchiette pasta with turnip tops does not include cheese. However, if you are not fond of the bitter notes of Rapini, to add a little Parmesan can be a good choice.
A notation concerning the orecchiette: they can vary in shape and size, and for handmade orecchiette there are different production methods. The handmade orecchiette in the style of Foggia are turned on the thumb, while the orecchiette in the style of Bari are finished using a knife.
Both are made with durum wheat semolina and water and eventually a little salt; nothing else.

Orecchiette with turnip tops original recipe: Method

Now let’s see how to prepare the orecchiette with turnip tops.
In particular, let’s see how to clean turnip tops, then how to cook turnip tops and other ingredients and how to combine them.

How to clean turnip tops

The first step is to clean turnip tops. How to clean turnip tops?
To prepare orecchiette pasta with turnip tops, the parts that are used are the leaves, the inflorescences still closed (called, in Rome, broccoletti, and not to be confused with the broccoli deriving from the Cavolo Broccolo Ramoso) and if you want the bloomed flowers, while the more fibrous parts are eliminated. Some eliminate all the twigs, even the smallest ones, others cook the thinnest twigs despite being a bit fibrous: we recommend cooking them, since they have good nutritional characteristics. Even the largest leaves can have a fibrous rib that you can decide to keep or eliminate.
Wash the still closed inflorescences, leaves and flowers under running fresh water. Wash the flowers separately, as they are more delicate. Wash the leaves and closed inflorescences well. At this point, put broccoli, leaves and flowers in a bowl.
Then take the leaves, place them on the cutting board and cut them into pieces of 2 or 3 square centimeters

Method: other steps

Some suggest parboiling clean turnip tops in water, and then cooking the orecchiette in the same water so that they absorb the flavor of cooked turnip tops.
Others advise adding Broccoli rabe to the recipe during the cooking of the orecchiette. Here we will adopt this second method. Here is the method:

  1. Put a pot of water on the heat and, when the water boils, add a little coarse salt and half of the cleaned turnip tops.
  2. Wait for the water to boil again, then add the orecchiette.
  3. While the pasta and half of the turnip tops are cooking, take the garlic. If the garlic is fresh, use also the innermost part. Otherwise, if you see that the inner part of the garlic is a little yellowish or greenish, eliminate it because it is not easily digestible. Chop the garlic.
  4. Take a pan, and put the chopped garlic inside.
  5. Add the anchovy fillets and the chilli chopped by hand.
  6. Put the pan on the stove and add a little extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Put on medium heat and break the anchovy fillets with a wooden spoon, so that the flavors blend well.
  8. At this point add the other half of the turnip tops and a pinch of salt to the ingredients in the pan, so that the turnip tops release the vegetation water.
  9. Add a ladle of pasta cooking water and cover the pan with a lid. Leave the ingredients to cook over low heat.
  10. When the pasta is al dente, drain it together with the turnip tops with which you cooked it and add them to the other ingredients in the pan.
  11. Sauté all the ingredients together in the pan for a couple of minutes. Sauteing together they will amalgamate, also thanks to pasta starch. If you wish to increase the creaminess of the preparation, add a little more cooking water while sautéing the ingredients in the pan.

SHOP ONLINE HIGH-QUALITY INGREDIENTS FOR YOUR ORECCHIETTE WITH TURNIP TOPS AND OTHER ARTISAN ITALIAN FOODS

On Gustorotondo you find high-quality orecchiette pasta and turnip tops in extra virgin olive oil, and other authentic Italian foods.
We look for producers who have high-quality standards, and we offer artisan Italian good products that enhance the tradition and authentic flavours of Italian cuisine.
Gustorotondo was born as a traditional Italian food store in the center of Milan, and then started the e-commerce business. Now you can buy traditional Italian food online on Gustorotondo from all over Italy, from the United Kingdom, from Germany, from the Netherlands, from the Czech Republic, from Spain, from France  and from all the other European countries.
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ORECCHIETTE PASTA WITH TURNIP TOPS: SOME VARIATIONS

After having seen the original recipe of orecchiette pasta with turnip tops, let’s see some variations.
Some suggest to toast a bit of breadcrumbs in the pan and add it to pasta with turnip tops (who knows if this was part of the original recipe?). Others prepare the orecchiette with turnip tops and sausage or pancetta.

ORECCHIETTE PASTA WITH TURNIP TOPS AND SAUSAGE

A tasty variant is that of the orecchiette with turnip tops and sausage.
Let’s see in detail the ingredients and preparation of the recipe.

Orecchiette pasta with turnip tops and sausage: ingredients for 4 persons

  • 1 kg turnip tops
  • 400 g orecchiette
  • 300 g sausage
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
  • Chili pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. The first step to prepare orecchiette with turnip tops and sausage is to clean the turnip tops. To clean turnip tops follow the instructions above, in the paragraph dedicated to the preparation of the original recipe.
  2. Boil a pot of water. When the water boils, add a little coarse salt and half of the cleaned turnip tops.
  3. When the water starts boiling again, add the orecchiette pasta.
  4. While the pasta and half of the Rapini are cooking, take the garlic. If it is fresh, use all the parts. Otherwise, if you see that the inner part is a little yellowish or greenish, eliminate it because it is not easily digested. Chop the garlic.
  5. Remove the gut from the sausage and break up the sausage.
  6. Take a pan, and put inside the garlic, chilli and sausage.
  7. Put the pan on the stove and add a little extra virgin olive oil.
  8. Cook over medium heat. Crumble the sausage with a wooden spoon and mix the ingredients so that the flavors blend well.
  9. Now add the other half of the turnip tops to the ingredients in the pan.
  10. Add a little pasta cooking water and cover the pan with a lid. Leave the ingredients to cook over low heat.
  11. When the pasta is al dente, drain it together with the turnip tops with which you cooked it and add orecchiette and turnip tops to the other ingredients in the pan.
  12. Sauté all the ingredients together in the pan for a couple of minutes. Sautéing the ingredients together will make them blend, also thanks to pasta starch. If you think it is advisable to increase the creaminess of the preparation, while you sauté the ingredients in the pan add a little more cooking water.

Orecchiette with turnip tops and sausage are ready!

ORECCHIETTE PASTA WITH TURNIP TOPS AND CURED BELLY OF PORK

Orecchiette pasta with turnip tops and cured belly of pork are a simple and tasty recipe.
Here are the ingredients and how to prepare it.

Orecchiette pasta with turnip tops and cured belly of pork: ingredients for 4 persons

  • 1 kg turnip tops
  • 400 g orecchiette
  • 200 g cured belly of pork
  • 1 or two cloves of garlic
  • Chili pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Start by cleaning turnip tops. To clean turnip tops follow the instructions above, in the paragraph dedicated to the preparation of the original recipe of orecchiette with turnip tops.
  2. Boil a pot of water. When it boils, add a little coarse salt and half of the cleaned Rapini.
  3. Wait for the water to boil again, and add the orecchiette.
  4. While the pasta and half of the turnip tops are cooking, mince the garlic. If garlic is fresh, use also the innermost part. Otherwise, if the inner part is a little yellowish or greenish, eliminate it because it is not easily digestible.
  5. Cut the cured belly of pork into not too small cubes, so that they can become crunchy on the outside while remaining soft inside.
  6. Take a pan, and put inside the diced cured belly of pork, the garlic and the chili.
  7. Put the pan on the stove.
  8. Add a little extra virgin olive oil, and cook over medium heat, mixing the ingredients with a wooden spoon.
  9. Add the other half of turnip tops to the ingredients in the pan.
  10. Add a little pasta cooking water, cover with a lid and cook to cook over low heat.
  11. When the pasta is ready to be drained, al dente, drain it together with half of the turnip tops with which you cooked it.
  12. Add the orecchiette with turnip tops to the other ingredients in the pan.
  13. Sauté the ingredients in the pan for two minutes. If you think the recipe should be a little creamier, add a little more cooking water to the ingredients while you sauté them.

Orecchiette with turnip tops and cured belly of pork are ready!

ORECCHIETTE PASTA WITH TURNIP TOPS: SOME REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY

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