Easy Pasta with Rapini Recipe

Easy Pasta with Rapini Recipe: Rapini Pasta is a simple, Italian-inspired pasta with powerful flavours. Rapini (broccoli rabe) is sautéed with anchovies and garlic and served with orecchiette pasta. The combination provides a good, hearty, and speedy supper in over 30 minutes!


  • 3/4 teaspoons salt, plus more for pasta water
  • 1 large bunch of broccoli rabe (aka rapini), cut into 1 1/2 -inch lengths (10 to 12 ounces)
  • 10 ounces orecchiette pasta (3 cups dry) or penne pasta (about 4 cups dry)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 anchovies, finely chopped (optional- see note if omitting)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano, for serving
Easy Pasta with Rapini Recipe - Step by Step
Easy Pasta with Rapini Recipe – Step by Step


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile set up an “ice bath” by filling a large mixing bowl with water and ice. 
  2. Add broccoli rabe to the boiling water and let cook for 2 minutes. Scoop the broccoli rabe into the ice bath with a sieve or slotted spoon. 
  3. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente according to the package instructions. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid, and then drain the pasta into a colander. 
  4. Once the broccoli rabe is cold, scoop the ice from the surface of the ice bath and then drain well through a sieve. Transfer the blanched broccoli rabe to a towel-lined plate to dry.
  5. About 5 minutes before the pasta is done, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in garlic, anchovies (if using), and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring until the garlic is just starting to brown, 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Immediately add the cannellini beans and the blanched broccoli rabe, ¾ teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring often until the broccoli rabe is heated through and tender, 2 to 4 minutes.
  6. Add the hot drained pasta and stir to combine. Add in a little pasta cooking liquid if the mixture seems dry. Season with black pepper. 
  7. Top with Pecorino or Parmesan before serving.


Is broccoli rabe the same as rapini?

Yes, Rapini, is also known as Broccoli Rabe. It is a leafy cruciferous vegetable that’s related to broccoli.

Is broccolini the same as broccoli rabe?

No broccolini doesn’t have a lot of leaves like broccoli rabe and it is very sweet by comparison. Broccolini is more firm (like asparagus.) Meanwhile, broccoli rabe has a flavor similar to escarole and tender texture.

Are rapini leaves edible?

Yes, all parts – the florets, leaves, and stalks – are all edible.

Is rapini bitter?

Rapini is known for having a bitter-sweet flavor; however, blanching before sauteeing it helps to mitigate overly bitter taste in broccoli rabe.

What goes well with rapini?

Bold flavors, like parmesan cheese, anchovy, and garlic, pair well with the bitter taste of rapini.

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