Here's How To Make Stanley Tucci's Specialty Orecchiette Pasta

Stanley Tucci may be best known for his roles in movies such as "Prizzi's Honor," "Beethoven," and "The Devil Wears Prada," but anyone who's seen "Big Night," a movie he directed as well as starred in, was probably not at all surprised by his later metamorphosis into a food-world personality. "Big Night," after all, was a love song to Italian-American food, one that presaged Tucci's successful foray into cookbook authorship. Both "The Tucci Cookbook" and "The Tucci Table" are celebrity cookbooks that transcend the genre and would stand on their own even if they had been written by Stanley No Name (or rather, Stanley Senza Nome). It's not particularly surprising that Tucci's next step was starring in a food and travel show called "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy."

Tucci, of course, has all kinds of opinions about food, ranging from what to order at Italian restaurants (veal Milanese or gnocchi), what to avoid at Italian restaurants located outside of Italy (carbonara), and how to pair pasta with sauce (the thinner the pasta, the lighter the sauce, and so on). He also likes to share lesser-known Italian recipes that may not be familiar to an American audience. One such dish, included in his second cookbook, comes from Italy's Puglia region. It is made with orecchiette, a scoop-like pasta said to be shaped like the "little ear" that lends it its name.

This orecchiette recipe comes together pretty quickly

Tucci did not create the recipe for orecchiette with broccoli rabe and anchovies; he got it from a friend who picked it up on her Italian honeymoon and included it in "The Tucci Table." (Per the book's subtitle, "Cooking With Family and Friends," he wasn't cheating by including someone else's discovery). To cook this recipe, CNN Travel says you'll need a pound of orecchiette, as well as a pound of broccoli rabe. You'll also need a generous helping of anchovies (eight of them), 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil, four cloves of garlic, and red chili flakes.

Blanch the broccoli rabe in boiling water for a minute or two, then drain it and set it aside. Cook the orecchiette until al dente, then drain that and set that aside, as well. Briefly sauté the garlic in the olive oil, then remove the cloves and toss them, as they have flavored the oil by now. Add the anchovies and chili and cook until the fish melt into the oil, then stir in the chopped broccoli rabe and pasta. Add a little water if the dish seems dry. Oops, did you forget to save some pasta water? No worries, it's easy enough to recreate the stuff with a tiny bit of cornstarch.