The Orecchiette con le Cime di Rapa (Orecchiette pasta with turnip tops) are one of the most representative dishes of Apulia, especially in the province of Bari. The secret of this dish lies in the optimal cooking of vegetables with pasta, the experience and knowledge of raw materials allow to obtain a perfect dish.
Respecting tradition, the Orecchiette pasta made from durum wheat are cooked in boiling water together with turnip tops, to better absorb the aromas, stirred with a tasty anchovy sauce made with anchovies underneath oil and perfumed with a clove of garlic.
Orecchiette with turnip tops are a traditional country dish, simple but with a unique taste that comes from the union of strong flavors.
Clean the turnip tops by removing the outer leaves and taking only the inner leaves and the flower with a small knife (or hands). Once ready, rinse and drain them and set aside. Meanwhile, put a saucepan with plenty of water, salted to taste, which will be used to boil the turnip tops afterwards.
Pour half the oil in a large pan and add the breadcrumbs, mix and let it brown over medium heat, until it is well browned, then keep it aside. As soon as the water reaches a boil, boil the turnip tops cleaned previously: they must cook for about 5 minutes.
In the meantime, you can devote yourself to the sauté: in a pan pour the remaining oil, a clove of garlic, poached, chili pepper and the anchovy fillets drained from the preserving oil. Mix with a wooden scoop to melt the anchovies in a pan; it will take a few minutes to let the sauce flavor and when it is ready, you can remove the garlic then turn off the heat.
After 5 minutes of cooking the turnips tops, add the orecchiette in the same pot and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir gently, then drain the orecchiette and turnip greens directly in the pan with the sauce.
Jump briefly and adjust with a pinch of salt; once ready, turn off the heat and place your orecchiette with turnip tops, adding a drizzle of raw oil and the toasted breadcrumbs.
The dish should be consumed as soon as it is ready. However, you can keep the orecchiette with turnip tops for 1 day in the refrigerator.
You can make this dish with fresh homemade orecchiette pasta.