Broccoli Pasta is one of those weeknight dinner recipes that I've learned by heart. Made with just a few simple ingredients that I always have on hand, it's a 20 minute meal that I can always turn to.
Tender broccoli and toasted garlic tossed with pasta and finished with a gentle kick of spice and a sprinkle of cheese: what's not to love? It's a pasta dish that strikes a great balance between decadent and wholesome, because broccoli is the star. What a versatile and delicious vegetable! You can steam it, sauté it, roast it, and even add it to soups. It's one of those powerhouse cruciferous vegetables that packs a fiber and nutrient dense punch, so I feel good about including this in our regular meal rotation.
Ingredients You Need to Make Broccoli Pasta
- Spaghetti: or other long, thin pasta
- Olive Oil: ideally extra virgin olive oil
- Garlic: fresh, large garlic cloves
- Broccoli: cut into small florets
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Parmesan Cheese: or Pecorino Romano
- Add brightness with a generous splash of fresh lemon juice and/or a teaspoon or two of lemon zest.
- Broccoli lover? Increase the amount of broccoli (as I often do).
- Add leftover rotisserie chicken or pan fry diced chicken breast along with the garlic and broccoli in step 2 of the recipe.
- Top with torn leaves of fresh basil to add an herbaceous element to the dish.
- Stir in chopped sun-dried tomatoes for added depth of flavor.
- Swap in crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese for the parmesan.
More Must Try Pasta Dishes
Serve as a Side to:
How to Make Broccoli Pasta
Cook pasta until al dente according to package directions; reserve 1 ½ cups of cooking water.
Meanwhile, in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook and stir garlic, broccoli and kosher salt in 2 tablespoons of hot olive oil until broccoli is tender and garlic is lightly browned, about 5 minutes (see recipe note for softer broccoli option). Add cooked pasta, remaining olive oil, red pepper flakes and ½ cup or more of the reserved pasta water; cook and stir until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl and serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled evenly over the top.
- 10 ounces spaghetti or other long, thin pasta
- ¼ cup olive oil divided
- 3 large garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1 pound broccoli cut into small florets, or more
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes or more
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook spaghetti until al dente according to package instructions, reserving 1 ½ cups of the cooking water.
- When pasta has about 5 minutes left to cook, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, broccoli and kosher salt; cook and stir until broccoli is tender and garlic is lightly browned, about 5 minutes (see recipe note #1 for softer broccoli). Add cooked pasta, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, red pepper flakes and ½ cup of the reserved pasta water (plus more as desired); cook and stir until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle parmesan cheese evenly over the top; serve.
- At this point the broccoli will be crisp-tender. If you prefer a softer broccoli, add 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water and cover to steam to your desired tenderness (2 to 4 minutes or longer), adding more water if needed. Then add cooked pasta and proceed with recipe.
- If you have leftover pasta, save any remaining cooking water to add to the pan while reheating.