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Orecchiette Pasta with Rapini

Easy recipe
Orecchiette Pasta with Rapini

If you like pasta, you will love this Orecchiette Pasta with Rapini. Tiny little ear shaped pasta shells that when cooked al dente, are very chewy and catch all the little bits of sauce that they are cooked with. In this case, I have made a simple Italian preparation including slices of garlic, plenty of good olive oil, rapini and feta cheese.

Rapini or broccoli rabe is a a green cruciferous vegetable that has a slightly bitter taste. Although it looks similar to broccoli or baby broccoli it is actually related to the mustard and turnip families. Rapini packs in high amounts of vitamins A, C, K, iron and folate. You can eat the leaves, buds and stems of rapini.

The bitter flavor of rapini may be an acquired taste but once you get it, it will be one of your go-to favorites. It should always be cooked until the stems are quite soft to mellow the bitterness. The process for perfect rapini preparation is to cook it first in boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes then finish it by sautéing it in olive oil and garlic. It is one of the few vegetables that I suggest slightly overcooking.

I often prepare the rapini exactly like this but without the pasta and serve it as a side dish.


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Orecchiette Pasta with Rapini

  • Author: Lisa @ My Studio Kitchen
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 5 servings 1x


A simple pasta recipe.


  • 1 pound of dry orecchiette or other short pasta (fusilli, penne)
  • 1 large bunch of rapini (broccoli rabe)
  • 34 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/31/2 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Fill a large pot with water, add 2 teaspoons of salt.

Trim 1-2 inches of the rapini stalks and wash under cold water.

When water is boiling, add rapini and cook for 4-5 minutes until almost tender. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain and roughly chop. (You will use the water to cook the pasta.)

Heat a large flat pan on medium heat, after 1 minute add half of the olive oil, heat for another minute then add garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir and keep an eye on the garlic so it does not brown. Add the chopped rapini, stir and season with salt and pepper.

Turn heat to low and add the feta.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil again (it will be slightly green), add orecchiette and cook until al dente (slightly undercooked). Drain pasta.

Add pasta to pan with garlic, turn heat up to medium, stir and add additional olive oil. Continue to stir until feta starts to melt and all of the pasta is coated.

Serve hot with additional Parmesan cheese.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Pasta, Orecchiette, Rapini, Broccoli Rabe, Feta Cheese


  • I made this recipe last night. It was delicious and super easy to make.
    Our friends came over last minute. I did not have rapini so I used chopped tomatoes. My friends loved it!! The feta cheese and red pepper flakes add so much flavor. A new favorite for us!

    • That’s so great that you improvised with tomatoes. That sounds yummy. Basically, when you have garlic, red pepper and olive oil you can’t go wrong!! xo


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Introducing a collaboration between
Culver City Farmers Market
and My Studio Kitchen.
In my weekly visits to the market,
I’ll be checking out the fresh produce
from the farmers as well as the fish,
bread and cheese vendors to see
what’s new and what’s in season.
Then I’ll share my quick and easy
recipes with you. I’m hoping you will
find inspiration to try new recipes
and experiment with
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