Orecchiette With Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Asparagus And Broad Beans

This began life as a Nigel Slater linguine and basil recipe from his excellent Kitchen Diaries cookbook to which I added some purple sprouting broccoli I had lying around in the fridge. The broccoli didn’t quite work with a long ribbon like pasta though so I decided to merge the dish with one I’ve posted before that uses orecchiette.

The following weekend I was in the Food Co-op and saw a very rare sight: Irish asparagus from Penny and Udo Langhe’s Ballyroan farm. This stuff flies out and is normally all gone by eleven o’clock but luckily I managed to get the last bunch; there were also some lovely broad beans (from Spain unfortunately) I thought would work well too.

The thing I like about this is that it’s sort of a crossover dish with the last of the spring’s purple sprouting broccoli being mixed with the first showings of the summer vegetables. I cook them all separately until al dente and then boil the pasta in the cooking water to try and save as much flavour as possible before everything is then tossed together with plenty of olive oil and cheese. I would normally use pecorino here but as I had none at the time I substituted parmesan and it was still lovely.

Orecchiette With Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Asparagus & Broad Beans

Serves: 2

5 large spears asparagus
75g broad beans, shelled weight
Olive oil
150g purple sprouting broccoli
250g orecchiette
1 red chilli, sliced into rounds
2 anchovies
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, zest of
15g basil, finely shopped
25g Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino


  1. Bring a pot of heavily salted water to the boil salted water to the boil.
  2. Cook the asparagus for 1-2 minutes until tender.
  3. Remove from the pot, slice into a few pieces and place in a bowl of ice water.
  4. Add the broad beans, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Again, remove from the pot and place in a bowl of ice water.
  6. Peal the tough outer skin from the beans as they are cooling in the water.
  7. Add the orecchiette to the pot of boiling water.
  8. Meanwhile, place a wide pan over a medium heat and add some olive oil.
  9. Sautee the broccoli in the oil for 3-4 minutes until just tender.
  10. Remove the broccoli and reserve.
  11. Lower the heat and add the garlic, chilli and anchovies.
  12. Gently fry until the anchovies have dissolved.
  13. Add the lemon zest and basil and then stir in the vegetables to heat them through.
  14. Adjust the seasoning if required (remember the pasta will be salty).
  15. Drain the pasta and add to the frying pan and mix everything together thoroughly with some more olive oil.
  16. Divide between two plates and squeeze over some lemon juice from the zested lemon.
  17. Top with the cheese and serve.

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