Pasta Lover Recipe: Spaghetti & Broccoletti

From the easy and fast Italian Lunch Box recipe ideas, here’s my family favorite fast lunch: “Spaghetti e friarielli” or “Broccoletti” (spaghetti with stir fried broccoli rabe), a bitterly delicious cornerstone of Neapolitan cooking.

The broccoli rabe are sold under a variety of names, including broccoli raab, rapini, broccolini… they are made of small florets (compared to broccoli) and long, slender stems 😋 Choose the firm one, with dark green florets.

There are many recipes out there with or without anchovies, or yes cheese – no cheese… This one is the simplest and the lightest, and it’s vegan friendly!

Recipe: Spaghetti and friarielli

Cover Spaghetti with broccoletti (broccoli rabe) collage ©OrsolaCirielloKogan
  • Serving: 4
  • Time: 30 min. to 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy


  • 160 g spaghetti (the classic type)
  • 400 g broccoletti (roughly 2 bunches of broccoli rabe to be trimmed)
  • 1 clove of garlic (unpeeled and lightly crushed)
  • 20 mL organic unrefined sunflower oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp coarse sea salt (this one goes into water to cook pasta)
  • Some fine sea salt and black pepper to taste (preferably freshly ground)

Utensils :You’ll need a cutting board; a casserole to cook pasta; a frying pan large enough to cook the broccoli and, later on, sautée the spaghetti.

Note: The overall time depends if the broccoletti are ready for cooking or must be trimmed.


  • Trim the broccoli rabe. (In the “interesting links” section, down below, there is a post where they got it covered). Remember the stalks, leaves, and blossoms of the plant are all edible.
  • Crush the cloves of garlic with the flat of a knife, (don’t peel it, it makes for a nice decoration on your plate)

Cooking Time!

  1. Fill a medium size casserole with water and place it on the burner. Salt and bring to a boil while prepping the broccoletti.
  2. Meanwhile, in a shallow frying pan heat some of the oil and gently fry the garlic till golden/brown.
  3. Add the broccoletti, 1/2 cup of water (around 125 mL), cover with a lid and allow to cook (at medium heat) for about 15 minutes, turning frequently.
  4. Once the water is boiling, drop the pasta and, while it’s cooking check the broccoletti.
  5. Remove the lid, check the tenderness of the veggies, season to taste. Keep it stand by for sauteing with pasta.
  6. Lift the cooked pasta from the water (al dente please!) and place it directly into the pan (with the broccoletti). Sauté for about 30 seconds (add some more oil, if needed) and…
  7. Serve immediately, in a deep dish!


We usually pair it with a white wine, like

  • a Sannio Greco Doc “Aurora” by Terre Stregate (Campania). 100% Greco di Tufo. It’s a medium straw yellow hue white wine, perfect for any informal occasion with greenish reflections.
  • a Pecorino Doc “Machaon” by Ausonia (Abruzzo).

Recipe’s Notes

  • As an optional, here’s my Grandma favorite seasoning: aged ricotta, a salty ricotta aged about 60 days, to be grated on pasta at serving time.
  • I use a gluten free type of spaghetti and like to add some fresh chili pepper
  • The oil I use for cooking is a high oleic sunflower oil; for serving is an organic unrefined sunflower oil.

Interesting links: