orecchiette, rapini, garlic, red chili, anchovy, breadcrumbs


It’s a classic, and also very simple, which means it’s doubly difficult to fool around with the formula. But then, there really is absolutely no reason to want to do so.

Okay, the chili chosen will vary, even as to whether it is fresh or dry, the rabe will taste differently at different times of the year, the bread used will also change, as will the pasta chosen, but basically the recipe won’t stray from its origins, and it shouldn’t.

It’s perfect; all the experimenting that got it there was done long ago.


  • half of a pound of an excellent artisanal Puglian pasta,‘I Tipici’ Orecchiette Agricola del Sole, from Eataly, and half a pound of young, tender broccoli rabe (rapini) from Willow Wisp Farm, the bottom stems removed and the rest of the greens roughly chopped, pasta and vegetable boiled together in a large pot of salted water until the pasta was barely al dente, a cup of the water reserved just before the orecchiette was drained, the orecchiette and the rabe tossed into a separate heavy deep pot in which 3 garlic cloves, 3 salted anchovies (rinsed and filleted), and 2 small red Calabrian peppers (seeded and chopped finely) from Campo Rosso Farm from Oak Grove Plantation had been slowly heated until the garlic had softened and colored lightly, everything (including a judicious amount of the reserved pasta water) then tossed and stirred over a low-to-moderate flame for a couple of minutes to blend the flavors and the ingredients, served sprinkled with half of a cup of fresh homemade breadcrumbs made from a 2-day-old loaf of ‘Compagne’, a traditional sourdough from Bien Cuit Bakery via Foragers Market (browned a little earlier in a little olive oil with a pinch of salt)
  • the wine was a California (Lodi) rosé, Karen Birmingham Rosé Lodi 2015
  • the music was more works from the terrific album we listened to the night before, ‘The Sons of Bach’, performed, variously, by the Freiburg Bach Orchestra, the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra Consort, and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra