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Orecchiette pasta with broccoli and lemon

Inspired by a traditional dish from Puglia in Italy, this pasta dish is bursting with flavor. This recipe was shared with us by Gillian.

Time 20 minutes
Skill Level Intermediate

Ingredients List

Serves 4
  • 500 g broccoli 1 lb broccoli, or tender-stem broccoli
  • 2 clove garlic cloves finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 340 g pasta orecchiette pasta
  • 1 Large lemon zest and juice
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160 Fan/350 F.
  2. If using broccoli, divide the head into small florets.  Peel and dice the stalk.  If using tender stem broccoli, divide into small pieces. Place in a roasting tin with the garlic. Sprinkle over the chili flakes, a little salt and spray or drizzle with a little olive oil.  Roast for 10 minutes, until the broccoli is just starting to brown, then remove from the oven.
  3. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet (10-12 minutes).  Before draining, save a little of the cooking water in a jug/cup.
  4. When the broccoli is cooked, stir through the lemon zest and juice, then add the drained pasta and mix to combine, using a little of the pasta water if required.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon into 4 warm pasta bowls
  7. Sprinkle with more chili flakes and drizzle with if you a little more olive oil if liked.

Optional extras:

  • You could use other pasta shapes, e.g. rigatoni or penne if you can’t find orecchiette.

  • To make a pescatarian version of this dish, you can boost the flavor by adding some anchovies which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.  (Make sure you buy the ones in olive oil). 

  • Whilst the broccoli and pasta are cooking, take 6 anchovy fillets from a tin/jar and pat them with kitchen paper to remove the oil. Grind them into a paste with a pestle and mortar.  Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and mix until smooth, before adding to the broccoli pan in step 4.