A plate of Homemade Italian Broccoli Rabe Cavatelli Pasta

Homemade Italian Broccoli Rabe Cavatelli Pasta

Homemade Italian Broccoli Rabe Cavatelli Pasta topped with some Pecorino Romano cheese. Could this possibly be the ultimate Italian comfort food?
Course Entree or Main
Cuisine Italian
Keyword broccoli rabe pasta, rapini pasta
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 424kcal
Author Maria Vannelli RD


  • 2 pounds broccoli rabe approximately 2 bunches
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves smashed
  • red chili flakes optional and to taste
  • 1 pound Cavatelli pasta I use half of my homemade cavatelli recipe
  • pasta water
  • Pecorino Romano cheese to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
  • garnish with fresh basil leaves optional


  • Trim the stems of the broccoli rabe, anywhere from 1-2 inches.
  • Wash broccoli rabe properly.
  • Over high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. 
  • Add the broccoli rabe and cook until tender. This should take 4-5 minutes.
  • Drain broccoli rabe in a sieve. Gently squeeze out excess moisture. 
  • Use scissors to roughly cut up the broccoli rabe. Set aside.
  • Bring large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Please note that you can use the same water used to cook the broccoli rabe. My personnel preference is to start with a fresh pot of water.
  • While waiting for the water to boil, drizzle olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Sauté smashed garlic for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the chili flakes (to taste) and the broccoli rabe to the sauce pan and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add the cavatelli to the salted boiling water. Homemade cavatelli take only a few minutes to cook. When they float to the top, they are done. 
  • Meanwhile, increase the heat (of the broccoli rabe) to medium high and add about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and the broccoli rabe becomes tender. Feel free to add a little more pasta water if the broccoli rabe look a little dry.
  • Drain the cavatelli (reserve some pasta water).
  • Toss together with the broccoli rabe (add some reserved pasta water if dish looks a bit dry).
  • Place on serving dish and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with Pecorino cheese and garnish with fresh basil leaves.


Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is just a rough estimate and variations can occur depending on the specific ingredients used. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 424kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 55mg | Potassium: 476mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 3965IU | Vitamin C: 31.5mg | Calcium: 185mg | Iron: 4.3mg