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Orecchiette with broccoli and crispy bacon

Orecchiette with broccoli and crispy bacon (serves 4)


Orecchiette is Italian for "little ears." Their size and rounded shape are just right for toppings such as: pancetta, pine nuts and broccoli or for holding a delicious tomato sauce. Grating Parmigiano-Reggiano over the entire dish is always a good idea.


It is one of the first dishes my brother and sisters ask for when we visit our Italian family – we can’t get enough of it! We have an auntie who lives in the old town of Bari (Bari Vecchia).  She is one of the ‘older’ ladies who every day, sit outside on the cobbled street, with her neighbours, having a good old moan and a gossip while making this wonderful, fresh traditional Puglian pasta.  Memories of sitting with them when we were younger always make me smile. They would give us a corner of the wooden board (not a table!) to sit at, some of the raw pasta and a knife and off we would go; cutting, dragging it with the knife to form the shape and then eating it before they caught us!


This recipe traditionally uses green cauliflower (Romanesco)from Puglia but this can be substituted by broccoli. Quick, easy but so full of flavour.



Orecchiette: 400 g

Romanesco / broccoli: 800 g

Terre Di San Vito olive oil: 2 tablespoons

Garlic: 1 clove finely chopped

Pancetta/streaky bacon/lardons, chopped: 200g

Salt: pinch for

Chili pepper/chili flakes: to taste

Anchovies: 4

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano: 120g (or more if you love it!)


Preparing the dish:

Wash the broccoli.

Cut into florets.

Boil the broccoli in a large saucepan of salted water for approximately 5 minutes. Once cooked (al dente: to the bite), drain the water (but keep it) and set the broccoli aside.

In a large frying pan, add the pancetta/bacon on a medium heat. Cook for about 3 minutes or once it begins to turn golden but not crispy (yet!).

Add the Terre Di San Vito olive oil, garlic and chilli pepper/flakes.

As soon as the garlic begins to sizzle, add the anchovy fillets and let them melt into the oil. This will give a salty taste to the dish.

Add the broccoli florets and mix.

Add a little of the water from the saucepan to the pan, cover and let the broccoli absorb the flavour for a couple of minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette in the salted water in which you cooked the broccoli and, when the pasta is cooked, drain and transfer it to the pan with the broccoli and stir.

If the orecchiette is dry while stirring, add a little more of the reserved cooking water.

Give it all a good mix but don’t mix it too hard or the broccoli may fall apart!

Put the mixture into a large serving bowl and cover it with a generous serving of Parmigiano-Reggiano.


Buon appetito!


Top tip:

Reserve some of the pasta water 

Serve with a bottle of our fabulous Terre Di San Vito Apeneste white wine