Orecchiette with broccoli and chilli sauce

Orecchiette with broccoli and chilli sauce

  • serves 2
  • Easy

The trick here is to steam the broccoli in seasoned olive oil and pasta water until mushy. It emulsifies into a wonderful sauce – sounds weird but it really works


Try this orecchiette broccoli recipe then check out more quick pasta recipes. Orecchiette means ‘little ears’ in Italian, and it’s the perfect pasta for this dish because little puddles of sauce pool in each one. This recipe is adapted from Leon Happy Fast Food by Rebecca Seal, Jack Burke and John Vincent (£16.99, Conran Octopus). You’ll need a lidded frying pan for this recipe.



  • orecchiette 200g
  • extra-virgin olive oil 3 tbsp, plus extra for drizzling
  • anchovy fillets 2, drained
  • garlic 4 cloves, thinly sliced
  • red chilli 1, thinly sliced (or a generous pinch of dried chilli flakes )
  • broccoli 1 large head, broken into very small florets of equal size
  • parmesan 50g, finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • flat-leaf parsley a large handful of leaves, finely chopped


  • Step 1

    Cook the orecchiette in boiling salted water for 1 minute less than the pack instructions

  • Step 2

    Meanwhile, put the oil, anchovies, garlic and chilli in a cold frying pan and bring up to heat over a medium-high heat. Mash the anchovies with a wooden spoon as they cook and they will dissolve into a paste. As soon as the garlic starts to sizzle, add a ladleful of the pasta cooking water, all the broccoli florets and season. Give it a stir and cover with a lid to steam for 10-15 minutes or until the broccoli is very mushy. Check every now and then to make sure the pan hasn’t gone too dry – if it does, add another splash of pasta water. Remove from the heat.

  • Step 3

    Drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of the cooking water. Tip the orecchiette into the frying pan and put back over a medium heat. Add a splash of the reserved pasta water and the parmesan, and toss for 1-2 minutes or until a sauce begins to form and cling to the pasta. Add more of the pasta water if it gets a little dry. Stir through the parsley.

  • Step 4

    Divide between two bowls, drizzle over a little extra olive oil, grate over some extra parmesan and crack over a few twists of black pepper. Eat straight away.

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Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 809
  • Fat 32.4g
  • Saturates 8.5g
  • Carbs 88.4g
  • Sugars 8g
  • Fibre 12.3g
  • Protein 34.8g
  • Salt 0.9g