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Orecchiette with broccoli close up
6min read

Spicy Romanesco Broccoli Orecchiette

by Valentina Concordia

6min read

Spicy, deep flavoured, super warming and super green.

Prep Time


Cook Time





1 tbsp + 2 tbsp olive oil, separated
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
¼-½ tsp chilli flakes, to taste
1 head romanesco broccoli (around 500g), chopped into small florets
½ tsp salt 
350g orecchiette pasta 
Pepper + chilli flakes, to serving



Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan, and add the finely sliced garlic. Sauté on medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the chilli flakes and continue sautéing until the garlic is starting to take on colour.


Add the romanesco florets and salt, stir to combine in the garlic chilli oil, and add 80ml water. Cover the pan and let the broccoli steam for 8-10 minutes, until soft. At this point, add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and continue sautéing the broccoli.


Whereas the first step of steaming allows the broccoli to cook through, this second step is important for developing flavour and creating crispy (and not soggy) broccoli, so don’t skip it! Sauté for 10 more minutes, stirring often and adding an extra drizzle of olive oil if necessary. Turn the heat off when most broccoli florets are crisp around the edges. 


Put a large salted pot of water to boil then add your orecchiette (or whichever pasta you’re using) and cook according to the instructions on the pack. Half way into cooking, use a cup/mug to remove 200ml of cooking water from the pot and transfer to a blender along with half of the sauteed romanesco broccoli.


Blend on high until a thick sauce forms. Transfer that back to the pan with the remaining sauteed broccoli and stir through. Once the orecchiette are cooked, drain them and add them to the pan with the sauce. Stir through until each piece is coated, taste for salt and adjust to taste.


Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil, and extra chilli flakes. 


By Valentina Concordia
Valentina Concordia

Valentina is our Food Editor, who dreams up our tasty dishes and recipes for our social channels. She has loads of experience cooking up a storm in Italian kitchens, so it’s no surprise she can’t live without good-quality olive oil (don’t come between her and her olive oil) and fresh pasta.

Read more from Valentina

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