Orecchiette Cime di Rapa (Orecchiette with Turnip Tops)

This is a typical dish of Apulian cuisine. The dish originated in the city of Bari and later spread throughout the region, to the point of probably becoming the identifying dish of Puglia.

The shape of the orecchiette-pasta originates from the main tool in the preparation of the product, that is the thumb, which gives the pasta a “shell” shape (a small ear), thinner in the center due to the pressure of the finger in the central part. Turnip tops, on the other hand, are the most used condiment, but orecchiette also go well with red ragù (small orecchiette) and other types of vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower (larger orecchiette).

The seasoning made of anchovy, garlic and chili pepper are a super accompaniment for the turnips top, while the toasted breadcrumb gives the dish a beautiful texture.

  • DifficultyMedium
  • CostCheap
  • Preparation time10 Minutes
  • Cooking time15 Minutes
  • Servingserves 2 people
  • Cooking methodStove
  • CuisineItalian


  • 400 gturnip tops
  • 200 gorecchiette
  • 4 filletsanchovy in oil
  • 2 clovesgarlic
  • 2 spoonsextra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 spoonbread crumb
  • 1 teaspoonchili pepper (crushed)


  1. – first of all, the turnip greens must be washed and cleaned thoroughly, choosing the best leaves and eliminating the hard parts;

    – bring the water to boil in a very large pot, so that it can contain not only the turnip greens, but also the orecchiette;

    – in the first phase we pour only the turnips into the boiling water, in order to soften them;

    – after 5 minutes, pour the pasta into the pot;

    – cook them together till orecchiette are “al dente”.

    – meanwhile, in a pan, prepare a fry with oil, 2 crushed cloves of garlic and 4 well-cleaned anchovy fillets. Cook until the latter have dissolved in the sauté and add the pepper the bread crumbs;

    – when the orecchiette are cooked “al dente”, drain them and transfer them together with the turnip greens to the pan and sauté everything for a minute to best flavor the orecchiette with the seasoning.

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