Have you ever heard about broccoli rabe? In Italy, they call it broccoletti in Rome, cime di rapa in Apulia, rapini in Tuscany, mazzareddra in Sicily and friarielli in Naples. It is a green vegetable with bitter taste leaves and buds that look like small broccoli buds. Italians usually sauté this broccoli rabe with olive oil, garlic and chili. In Naples, you will find friarielli on pizza with some chunks of sausage. In Apulia, cime di rapa are cooked with anchovies and orecchiette, this famous little ear shape pasta. Cime di rapa, literally means turnip tops though it’s not and it’s a different vegetable (broccoli is Brassica oleracea var. italica, turnip is Brassica rapa, broccoli rabe is Brassica ruvo). But here is where, with my husband, we took our inspiration from to create this zero waste recipe. What if we just cooked the turnip greens with pasta and anchovies?
Turnip tops are bitter too, very healthy and edible (unlike most people would think) and are wasted most of the time, thrown away as garbage or composted in the best cases. So give them a chance to surprise you, sautéed with olive oil, garlic, chili and anchovies and then tossed in a pan with pasta such as orecchiette like in Apulia, or fusilli that keeps the silky sauce between their nooks.
And of course, this recipe is so versatile to be done with any other greens: carrot tops, beetroot tops, radish tops…
Makes 2 mains
- 7 oz of pasta (orecchiette or fusilli)
- A bunch of fresh turnip greens
- 2 garlic cloves
- 10 salted anchovy fillets in oil
- Chili flakes
- Olive oil
Bring to a boil a big pan with water. Add one or two tsp of coarse salt.
Pour in the pasta and let cook respecting the time written on the pack.
In the meantime, sauté the garlic cloves peeled and cut in half with a drizzle of olive oil.
Add a pinch of chili flakes.
Add the anchovy fillets minced and the turnip greens cut in chunks. Sauté for few minutes until the turnip tops are cooked.
Add a splash of water from the pasta. The starch it contains will help you create a nice and silky sauce to coat the pasta.
Drain the pasta and toss it for few minutes in the pan with the anchovy and turnip greens sauce.
Serve and enjoy immediately!