Easy Pasta with Rapini Recipe

Easy Pasta with Rapini Recipe: Rapini Pasta is an easy, classic Italian-inspired dish that is bursting with bright, bold flavors. Slightly bitter-sweet rapini mixed with tender pasta, creamy beans, and salty anchovies and parmesan for one hearty and quick meal that comes together in close to 30 minutes!

Table of Contents


  • 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


  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.
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