Orecchiette with cime di rape

Orecchiette con cime di rape. This probably the most well known dish from Bari. Cime di rape are known as turnip tops in British English. It’s funny, but I’ve never seen turnips in Italy. It must be a real problem for the ex-pat Scots on Burns’ night. They are known as rapini or broccoli rabe in American English. In fact if you can’t find cime di rape you can use broccoli. The results won’t be the same, but it will be in the same ball park. I have seen recipes that also use cherry tomatoes which are added to the oil after the anchovies have dissolved. You can cook the cime di rape along with the pasta or, as I prefer, cook the cime di rape and then cook the pasta in the same water. Some recipes also don’t use chillies and/or anchovies so the dish can easily be made vegetarian. Serves 4

Orecchiette con cime di rape finished dish

Orecchiette con cime di rape finished dish

  • 400 g orecchiette
  • 800 g cime di rape
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 tablespoon or more olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 dried chilli (optional)
Orecchiette con cime di rape ingredients

Orecchiette con cime di rape ingredients

Wash the cime di rape well. I prefer to discard the larger stalks, but some people leave them in.

Washed cime di rape

Washed cime di rape

Boil the rape in plenty of salted water until it is cooked to your liking. I find 3 or 4 minutes is enough. Drain them saving the water.

Cooked cime di rape

Cooked cime di rape

Cook the orecchiette  until they are al dente in the water you used to cook the cima di rape. Meanwhile fry the anchovies, whole garlic clove and chilli in the olive oil. Stir until the anchovies dissolve. Cook for a few minutes over a medium heat.

Frying the anchovies and chilli

Frying the anchovies and chilli

Remove the garlic clove and add the cime di rape. Mix well. Finally add the oriecchette and serve.

Pasta with ricotta

Pasta e ricotta. This is a very simple dish, but delicious all the same. The quality of the ricotta is very important. You can of course make this dish with ordinary supermarket ricotta and the results will be perfectly acceptable, but it will be much better with the fresh version. If you can find sheep’s milk ricotta, even better. This being Bari, I made it with it with orecchiette, but it goes with just about any type of pasta. There are lots of things you can add that change the character of the dish drastically. Serves 6.

pasta with ricotta ingredients

pasta with ricotta ingredients

  • 500 g pasta (any type)
  • 500 g ricotta – the best you can find, preferably sheep’s milk.
  • Optional ingredients:-
  • Add parmesan for a stronger cheese taste.
  • Add paprika to make the dish a little bit spicy.
  • Add fresh basil and mint for an aromatic version.
  • There is even a sweet version which includes a good pinch of cinnamon and a tablespoon of sugar
  1. Cook the pasta until it is al dente.
  2. Add a little of the pasta cooking water to the ricotta and beat well until it is smooth.
  3. Dress the pasta with the ricotta and serve immediately.
pasta with ricotta finished dish

pasta with ricotta finished dish

Orecchiette with anchovies and bread crumbs

This dish is common all over the south of Italy. As simple as can be! Two main ingredients. This being Bari, I was told that the only possible pasta to have it with was orecchiette 🙂 30 minutes down the road they’d tell you something else. I’ve also seen the recipe with bucatini and spaghetti, so I’m sure it would be good with whichever you care to try it with. I asked the person who gave me the recipe how many anchovies to use and she said ‘it depends how much you like anchovies!’ . I like them a lot, so I used 2 whole ones per person (it would have been more but I ran out 🙂 ) Serves 4

orecchiette with anchovies ingredients

orecchiette with anchovies ingredients

  • 320 grams orecchiette
  • 8 whole salted anchovies — filleted, soaked and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Fry the anchovies gently in the olive oil until they have completely
  2. Mix with the cooked orecchiette and serve, sprinkled with the bread crumbs
orecchiette with anchovies finished dish

orecchiette with anchovies finished dish

Orecchiette with braciole and ragu

Don’t panic when I tell you the main ingredient is horsemeat 🙂 It works just as well with beef. Thanks to Antonella for the recipe. If you are wondering why there are more photos than normal, I prepared this dish so I could post the recipe on another forum. If you like you can serve the sauce with the pasta as the first course, and the braciole as the second course.

Ingredients for 4 people

Braciole ingredients

Braciole ingredients

  • 400g of pasta
  • 400g thinly sliced steak (horse or beef)
  • A few cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • A few spigs of parsley, finely chopped
  • Some grated Grana or parmesan
  • 500g tomatoes – If you can’t get really ripe ones, use tinned.
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Fresh basil
  • Cocktail sticks

And last but not least 🙂

Good red wine

Good red wine

  • It can be served with just about any type of pasta, but here they use orecchiette (little ears).
  • First peel, deseed and chop the tomatoes. It’s much easier if you cut an x in each one and blanch for about a minute. The skin virtually falls off.
  • Then prepare the braciole. Cut the meat into stips about 5cm wide. Put a little garlic, parsley and Grana on each strip. Roll up and fasten with a cocktail stick
Assembling the braciole

Assembling the braciole

    1. Brown the braciole in a heavy pot – one that’s good for slow cooking. Remove and put to one side.
    2. Add the carrot, onion and celery to the same pot. Fry gently until the onion is well coloured.

Braciole frying tritata

    1. Return the braciole to the pot and add a good slug of red wine. Cook until the wine has almost reduced to nothing

Braciole reducing wine

    1. Then add the tomatoes, cover and cook over a very low heat. Cooking time depends on the meat. It should be very tender, but not falling apart. Check every now and again with a sharp knife or a skewer to see when they’re done. Mine took about 3 hours.

Braciole cooking

  1. When they are done, remove the braciole from the sauce. Chuck in a bit of chopped basil. Toss the cooked pasta in a little of the sauce and divide between 4 plates. Remove the cocktail sticks and put 4 or 5 braciole on each plate. Top with more of the sauce, sprinkle on some parmesan and we’re away 🙂 Alternatively, serve the sauce with the pasta as the first course, followed by the braciole as the second course.

Braciole finished dish

I’ve just found out that Tony Soprano’s recipe for ‘Braciole’ (or Brazhool 🙂 )appears in The Soprano Family Cookbook They serve it with ziti though. Would they be the famous ‘Grandma’s ziti’ we were always hearing about 🙂

Orecchiette with meatballs

  I don’t know how traditional this recipe is, but it tasted nice. There are thousands of recipes for minced meat in Italy. They range from polpettine(meatballs), increasing in size through polpette (burger shapes) to polpettone(meatloaf). This recipe calls for veal, but beef would work well too. Serves 4

orecchiette with meatballs ingredients

  400     grams  orecchiette — preferably fresh
  250     grams  veal — minced
  150     grams  fresh bread crumbs
             parsley — chopped
  1         clove  garlic — minced
  200    milliliters  fresh milk
  300    grams  tomaotes — peeled, seeded and chopped or tinned chopped tomatoes
             small handful of basil — cut into thin strips
             small handful of rocket — cut into thin strips
  1         medium  onion — finely chopped
  4         tablespoons  ricotta dura — grated
             olive oil

  • Soak the bread crumbs in the milk for 15 minutes
  • To make the meatballs, mix together the veal, bread crumbs, and parsley.
  • Season with salt and pepper and a few grates of nutmeg.
  • Knead the mixture until it comes together.
  • Form into meatballs about the size of a grape.
  • To make the sauce, fry the onion in a little olive oil for a few minutes and then add the tomatoes. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes.
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook for a further 15 minutes
  • A couple of minutes before the end of cooking, add the basil and rocket
  • Serve with the cooked orecchiette and sprinkled with the ricotta

orecchiette with meatballs finished

Orecchiette with aubergine

Serves 4

Orecchiette with augergine ingredients

Orecchiette with augergine ingredients

  •   400 grams orecchiette — preferably fresh
  •   2 medium aubergines — cut into cubes (leave the skin on)
  •   4 tablespoons olive oil
  •   a large handful of basil — torn into small pieces
  •   1 clove garlic — whole
  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan with the clove of garlic.
  2. When the garlic starts to colour, add the aubergines.
  3. Add the basil and season with salt.
  4. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes
  5. Discard the garlic.
  6. Serve with the cooked orecchiette
Orecchiette with augergine finished dish

Orecchiette with augergine finished dish

Orecchiette with cauliflower

This is another local Pugliese classic. Be careful not to overcook the cauliflower as the slightly crunchy texture is very important. The original recipe included  2 tablespoons of olive oil, but I thought the lardo provided enough fat. Feel free to re-add it though. Next time I will probably halve the amount of lardo and use 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  If you want to know exactly what lardo is, follow this link. Serves 4

orecchiette with cauliflower ingredients

orecchiette with cauliflower ingredients

  • 400 g orecchiette
  •  1 medium  cauliflower — separated into small florets
  •   70 grams  lardo — cut into small cubes
  •   5 tablespoons  Pecorino — grated
  1. Boil the cauliflower florets until still quite firm – or molto al dente as it was explained to me
  2. Fry the lardo in a pan until it has almost completely dissolved
  3. Add the cauliflower and fry in the fat for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the cooked orecchiette to the pan and mix well
  5. Serve with the pecorino
orecchiette with cauliflower finished dish

orecchiette with cauliflower finished dish

Orecchiette with tomatoes and ricotta

  This is the first dish I had cooked for me in Pulgia. Orecchiette is the most traditional pasta of the region. The most popular way to serve them is with turnip tops (cime di rape) , but this way is also common. Feel free to leave out the chilli. This dish uses ricotta dura which is a type of aged ricotta from Puglia. It has a fairly mild, but distinct flavour.  Don’t try this using regular soft ricotta, it won’t be the same. It would probably be ok with a mild pecorino if you can’t find ricotta duraServes 4

Orrecciete with tomatoes and ricotta dura ingredients

Orrecciete with tomatoes and ricotta dura ingredients
  •   400  grams  orecchiette — fresh if possible
  •   300  grams  cherry tomato — halved
  •   1       handful  basil leaves — torn
  •   3       tablespoons  ricotta dura — grated
  •   1       clove  garlic — peeled
  •   3       tablespoons  olive oil
  •            pinch  chilli flakes
  1. Fry the garlic clove in the olive oil until golden and then discard.
  2. Add the tomatoes and chilli and continue cooking for about 15 minutes
  3. Just before the end of cooking, add the basil
  4. Mix with the cooked orecchiette, top with the cheese and serve