Many years ago, when visiting Puglia in the south of Italy, I came across Orecchiette pasta. Literally translating at ‘small ears’, Orecchiette works best when combined with a simple, clear flavours. The pasta itself is robust and has a substance to it therefore I have found it works best in recipes with distinct flavours. For me, the recipe below is an absolute favourite and being vegan means it’s friend to many. Once again it’s quick, tasty and healthy – any excuse to add chill to recipes is good for me! NB. I recommend small red chillies such as Bird’s Eye or Demon Red.
Orecchiette with Broccoli and Chilli
1 large head or 2 small heads of broccoli (approximately 360g)
360g dried orecchiette
2 – 4 small red chillies (2-3 tsp), thinly sliced (remove seeds for a less intense flavour)
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
4-6 anchovy fillets, chopped (optional)
½ lemon zest and juice
2 tbsp olive oil
Ortrugo Frizzante Colli Piacentini or
Pignoletto Fermo Superiore Colli Bolognesi
Boil a saucepan of salted water and add the orecchiette. Cook until al dente.
Chop and then break-up the broccoli into small florets about the size of a 1p piece. Discard the thicker parts of the broccoli stem.
Wash the broccoli, steam for 4 minutes and set aside without the lid on.
Meanwhile heat a sauté pan and add the oil. Add the chillies, garlic and anchovies and fry for 90 seconds until the anchovies fall apart into small flakes. Take off the heat and add the lemon zest.
Throw in the broccoli and mix well.
Add the pasta and the lemon juice to sauté pan, season and mix well.
Serve immediately with the finely grated cheese and a glass of Italian white wine.