Organically Grown on Terra Madre Farm
In Italy, they grow a species especially for its greens, cime di rapa, which is classically served wilted with anchovies. They are similar to collard greens, spinach or chard, and cooked in much the same way.
The root is crisp, slightly peppery and complex, while the green tops and stems are nutritious, hearty and versatile. Turnips are a hidden gem that, treated with respect, can become the hero of any table: chargrilled and added to stews, grated raw into salads or baked and served as part of the Sunday roast.
Recipe by the brilliant (and handsome 🙂 Giorgio Locatelli
Orecchiette with turnip tops and chilli
Orecchiette come from Puglia, where they are traditionally handmade. The joke is that everyone in Puglia has big, bent thumbs from pressing them into the little ear shapes that give these their name.
3 small bunches of turnip tops or broccoli
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 medium red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
400g dried orecchiette
2 anchovy fillets
Salt and pepper
Take the leaves and florets of the turnip tops or broccoli from their stalks and blanch them in boiling salted water for about a minute. Drain and squeeze to remove the excess water. Chop very finely.
Warm half the olive oil in a large sauté pan, add the garlic and chilli, and gently cook without allowing them to colour. Then add the turnip tops and toss around. Add another tablespoon of olive oil.
Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil, salt it, put in the orecchiette and cook for about a minute less than the time given on the packet, until al dente.
Ladle a little of the pasta cooking water into the other pan. Then turn down the heat and add the anchovies. Let them dissolve, without frying them, stirring all the time. Taste and season if necessary .
When the pasta is cooked, drain, and add the pasta to the pan containing the sauce. Toss around for 2-3 minutes, so that the turnip tops cook a little more and begin to cling to the pasta. Add the rest of the olive oil, toss well to coat and serve.
Brief history of orecchiette with turnip greens
Going back in the history of orecchiette with turnip greens, the tradition dates back to the medieval period of the 12th and 13th centuries, a period of Norman-Swabian domination, in the area of Sannicandro di Bari (*). Already at that time, in fact, there was produced an artisan pasta made from Pugliese durum wheat, with a circular shape and a hollow shape in the center with the pressure of the thumb. Once ready, the pasta was dried so that it could be stored for longer or shorter periods, even on ships that left for long journeys. Considered dowry, with the past inheritance of mother to daughter, the orecchiette would have spread in the rest of Puglia and Basilicata. To the Angevins in the thirteenth century we owe the name to the pasta we know today.