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Broccoli and Pasta

Updated on September 11, 2014
via flickr cc
via flickr cc | Source

Visiting a friend on the East Coast one summer as a young teen, I got what her mom called "Italian lessons." No, I didn't learn the language. But I learned a lot about family communications, Italian-American style. Rather than keeping feelings mostly bottled up like my family tended to do, these folks actually told each other when something was bugging them. Imagine that!

Something else I learned? How to make a wonderful broccoli and pasta main dish with no cookbook, no recipe card, no measuring tools .... just hands & memory. This ended up being one of the first dishes I cooked for myself and roommates in my first apartment, and I've continued ever since -- now for my own family. I've tweaked my friend's mom's recipe a bit, substituting olive oil for butter and adding red pepper flakes for some kick. But otherwise it's the same yummy dish she taught me.

See if this very easy dinner, sure to please even the broccoli averse, won't be a hit at your table too...

background image credit

Prep time: 20 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: 6


  • One large bunch of fresh broccoli, or a packet of fresh broccoli florets
  • One pound pasta, any shape
  • 2 large cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or more, to taste)
  • pinch or two of red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt to taste
  • fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh-grated parmesan


  1. Chop the broccoli florets to a medium-fine consistency. (We don't use the stalk part, but you certainly could do so if desired -- thinly sliced.)
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a few dashes of kosher salt, then add the pasta and chopped broccoli all together.
  3. Cook until the pasta is al dente (check pasta box for timing -- depends on shape) and the broccoli is very soft, even mushy.
  4. While the pasta and broccoli are cooking, heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Press or mince the garlic and add it to the oil, then sauté until soft and golden. Add the red pepper flakes, crushing them with your fingers for more flavor as you drop them into the skillet.
  5. When the pasta and broccoli are done cooking, drain the large pot.
  6. Gently stir the pasta and broccoli mixture until the softened bits of broccoli coat the pasta, making a sort of "sauce." Add the oil-garlic-red pepper mixture & stir again to coat. If the pasta seems to be sticking too much, you can add a bit more olive oil.
  7. Season to taste with kosher salt and fresh black pepper, then quickly stir in the parmesan cheese. Taste once more for salt & pepper, then serve immediately -- with more grated parmesan at the table for sprinkling on top.

Good, no?

5 stars from 1 rating of Broccoli and Pasta
OXO SteeL Spaghetti Server
OXO SteeL Spaghetti Server

We got a metal pasta server last year for Christmas, and it is soooo much nicer to use (and easier to clean) than our old plastic one.

Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Premium Select, 16.9-Ounce, Glass Bottle
Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Premium Select, 16.9-Ounce, Glass Bottle

Lucini is my favorite olive oil to use when a dish has few ingredients & the flavor of the oil really counts. In the summer, I love drizzling it plus some reduced balsamic over our homegrown tomatoes and basil plus some sliced fresh mozzarella. I also think good olive oil makes a great gift alternative to wine, when you're invited for dinner at an avid home cook's.


Did you try my broccoli and pasta recipe? Or do you have your own version? Please share!

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I make pasta with broccoli a lot... but not "mushed up" to make a sauce. I'll have to give it a try. Nothing better than olive oil, garlic and some parmesan cheese mixed in, too.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 

      5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Sounds like a great recipe. I sometimes make a cheese sauce to go on the broccoli-pasta too. Yum. It's all good!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      5 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Sounds delicious. I will be trying this one!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      awoa i like

    • ayannavenus profile image


      5 years ago

      Lovely recipe will be trying this for sure

    • Diaper Bag Blog profile image

      Stanley Green 

      5 years ago from Czech Republic

      I didn't actually, but I would love to try it! Looks yummy!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks for the lovely healthy recipe!

    • verymary profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Chicago area

      @RoadMonkey: Yes, the broccoli really does make a sauce, and the added benefit for people like me who have a bit of trouble digesting broccoli have a much easier time when it's cooked into such a fine consistency.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      5 years ago from Colorado

      Sounds good to me. Thanks!

    • RoadMonkey profile image


      5 years ago

      Well, that's a very different version of cooking pasta and broccoli from any I have ever heard and it sounds easy too, as well as tasty. I think I will give this pasta in broccoli sauce a try!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I've never try broccoli and pasta, but I'm interested to try your recipe because I like broccoli.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I love pasta, any shape. :)) I will try this recipe too. Thank for sharing!


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