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Orecchiette with Purple Sprouting Broccoli

The pasta sauce for this recipe is outstanding in its own right, but the dish is even more spectacular when prepared with  homemade orecchiette pasta. You can use dry pasta, of course, which makes this dish the perfect option for a fast and delicious weeknight supper. On our Italian cooking holiday, we make this dish with broccoli raab (also known as rapini or locally as cime di rapa). Since this is not so easily found in the UK, we've substituted purple sprouting broccoli as an alternative. 

Vegan Sauce for Orecchiette

If you're interested in southern Italian cuisine, take a look at our upcoming vegetarian  Italian cookery classes. Or better yet, come on our cooking holiday in Apulia this October! 

Orecchiette with Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Dietary: Vegan

Serves 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 35 minutes Ingredients

  • 400g fresh orecchiette pasta
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 large red chilli, chopped, (optional)
  • 24 large cherry tomatoes, left whole
  • ½ lemon, zest and juice
  • 600g purple sprouting broccoli
  • 2 tbsp capers (optional)
  • salt and black pepper
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzlingMethod
  1. Fry the green pepper and garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes, until softened. 
  2. Add the chilli and continue to sauté for a few more minutes. 
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes, lemon juice and zest and cook for 20 minutes with a lid on. Squash the cherry tomatoes lightly. 
  4. Continue to stir the sauce for a few minutes and, if it looks a little dry, add some of the boiling pasta water (see below) to loosen it up. Season with salt and black pepper.
  5. Remove the thick stems and any outer leaves from the purple sprouting broccoli and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and refresh in cold water.
  6. Add the purple sprouting broccoli to the sauce stir well and cook for a further 3 minutes. If you want, add capers at the same time as the purple sprouting broccoli.
  7. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta, (retain some of the water to add to the sauce) and add it into the pan with the sauce. Mix everything together well. 
  8. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil.

Vegan Orecchiette with Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Mouthwatering photos by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

For more vegan Italian cooking inspiration, take a look at our upcoming vegetarian Italian cookery classes. Or better yet, come on our cooking holiday in Apulia this October! 

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