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Orecchiette pasta with turnip tops

This classic recipe combines two products symbol of Apulian gastronomy to obtain a perfect combination, one of the great first courses of the Italian tradition. Also using our original orecchiette from Gargano, available in different formats, the preparation is fast and affordable for everyone. It should be considered that, compared to the fresh ones, the dried orecchiette require a few minutes more cooking.

The recipe also allows some possible variations to better adapt to the personal taste; in our version we use both anchovies (which go great with breadcrumbs) and chili, but you can get a tasty dish (fully enjoyable even for those who follow a vegetarian diet) also omitting these ingredients.
The turnip tops in our version cook for as little time as possible, to preserve as much as possible the consistency and content in vitamins.

INGREDIENTS (serves four)

Cleaning of turnip tops

The classic recipe is to remove the outer leaves and keep only the inner ones and the flower, that is the most valuable parts. We also like to use a small portion of the stem under the flower, cutting it into thin disks, to add crunchy and also to reduce waste of raw material. Rinse the tops and drain. Meanwhile, boil plenty of salted water in a large pot (which must have enough space for both the orecchiette and the tops).

Preparation of breadcrumbs and soffritto

In a large pan toast the breadcrumbs with a couple of tablespoons of oil: breadcrumbs should not become creamy but stay dry enough, so better to avoid adding too much oil. When the breadcrumbs are golden and fragrant, remove from the heat and keep aside.

As soon as the water begins to boil, throw the orecchiette that will have to boil alone for about 5 minutes; stir often and gently.

Meanwhile, prepare a fry (soffritto) with the remaining oil, garlic, chilli pepper (fresh or dried) and then melt the anchovies. After a few minutes remove from the heat.

Baking of the tops

After the orecchiette has boiled for the first 5 minutes, add all the tops in the same pot and cook for another 5-7 minutes, taking care that the pasta remains very "al dente", because it is going to be sauteed again in the pan.

Stir-frying in the pan

Drain the orecchiette and turnip tops directly into the pan with the fry, adding a little cooking water. Stir fry quickly and adjust with salt. Finally, serve with half a tablespoon of toasted breadcrumbs and a drizzle of Apulian extra virgin oil of the finest quality, such as the Casino Mezzanola by Pannarale.