Orecchiette with purple sprouting broccoli

Orecchiette with purple sprouting broccoli
  • Serves icon Serves 2
  • Time icon Takes about 20 minutes

A simple yet full-flavoured pasta recipe which combines salty anchovies with crunchy, seasonal broccoli. You could use any pasta you have to hand, really.


  • About 500g purple sprouting broccoli
  • 25g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • Good pinch of dried chilli, crushed
  • Good pinch grated nutmeg
  • 2 sprigs of thyme; tweak the little leaves off the stalk
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 150g orecchiette pasta
  • 25g fresh Parmesan, grated


  1. Use as much of the broccoli as you can. For very early broccoli, simply remove the woody base of the stem where it has been cut and cut the upper stem, leaves and heads into bite-sized pieces. For later broccoli, discard the thick parts of the stem and the lower leaves. Heat the butter and oil gently in a wide-bottomed pan (preferably one with a lid) and when it is fizzing, throw in the garlic, chilli, nutmeg and thyme. After about a minute, add the broccoli and the anchovies. Sprinkle the ingredients with 3 tablespoons of water and a scant pinch of sea salt, then cover and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring at least 2 litres of salted water to a rolling boil in a large saucepan. When boiling, add the pasta and stir a couple of times. Cook until al dente (about 9 or 10 minutes; taste a piece of pasta before you drain it as you will know if it feels right). Drain the pasta thoroughly and return it to the pan. Throw in the broccoli mixture and stir a couple of times until everything is mixed. Throw in the Parmesan and stir again before serving.


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