This quick and tasty recipe is a great way to eat your veggies
Love pasta, but need more veggies? We have just the dish.
This recipe is light on the pasta, heavy on broccoli. It’s sauced with a dollop of olive oil (but includes plenty of garlic for flavor).
Pasta with Broccoli and Garlic is easy and fast, so it’s great for quick weeknight dinners. It’s even tasty enough for weekend company.
So take a walk on the light side.
Recipe: Pasta with Broccoli and Garlic
Exact quantities aren’t critical for this recipe, so you can vary ingredient amounts to taste. We like to use about 2 ounces of dried pasta and 6 ounces of broccoli per serving. But you can adjust either of those up or down.
We think this dish works best when made with a dried pasta shape that catches some sauce. We like to make it with conchiglie (shells). But orecchiette, penne, or farfalle all work well.
This recipe takes about 20 minutes to make and serves two. It can easily be doubled.
- ~12 ounces broccoli florets (you may want a bit less; see headnote)
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste)
- salt to taste (see Notes)
- 4 ounces dried pasta (see headnote)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese for garnish (optional)
- Place a large pot of water on to boil (use a cooking pot that holds at least 4 quarts).
- Wash the broccoli, then cut it into florets of about ½ inch (reserve the stalks for another use). Set aside.
- Peel the garlic and slice it thinly or mince it. Set aside.
- When water boils, add salt to taste (about 1 tablespoon per 4 quarts of water). Add the chopped broccoli. Cook it for 3 minutes to blanch. When the broccoli is done, remove it with a slotted spoon or a spider strainer, then pour it into a colander or wire strainer to drain. Add the pasta to the cooking water. Cook the pasta according to package directions until it’s just barely al dente.
- Meanwhile, place a large frying pan on medium stovetop heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped garlic and reduce the heat to low. Cook the garlic for two minutes (don’t let it brown). Then add the red pepper flakes and cook for 20 seconds. Add the blanched broccoli and cook on low heat until it’s soft and tender.
- When the pasta is done, drain it (reserving ½ cup of cooking liquid). Add the pasta to the frying pan. Toss all the ingredients together until they’re well combined. If you want a more liquidy sauce, add some of the reserved cooking liquid. Taste the mixture, then adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Plate the pasta and broccoli, garnishing with parmigiano-reggiano cheese if you wish. Serve and enjoy.
- Some cooks like to add a bit of parmigiano-reggiano to the broccoli when they toss it with the pasta (Step 6).
- We sometimes don’t bother blanching the broccoli (Step 4). Instead, we just stir-fry the raw broccoli after we’ve sautéed the garlic and pepper flakes (Step 5). If you go this route, you’ll need to cook the broccoli about 5 minutes – or until it’s as done as you like it (we prefer a bit of bite to ours).
- When we stir-fry the broccoli, we sometimes substitute canned white beans for pasta. We drain and rinse the beans, then add them to the broccoli after we’ve stir-fried it. Then let the beans heat in the pan before serving.
- Not enough pasta in this dish for your taste? Feel free to increase the amount to 3 ounces per serving.
- And you can substitute gluten-free pasta, of course.
- Olive oil is an important component of this dish, so don’t skimp on its quantity or quality. The olive oil gets infused with the flavor of the garlic and red pepper flakes, helping it form a sauce.
- BTW, our version of this dish is very Italian-American. An Italian cook would probably use less garlic – perhaps simmering a whole peeled clove or two in the olive oil for a couple of minutes (Step 5), then removing the garlic when adding the red pepper flakes.
- Don’t like garlic? You can make this dish without it. In that case, you might want to add an anchovy or two to provide depth of flavor. Just sauté the anchovy in olive oil for a couple of minutes. (It will practically dissolve, and you won’t even know it’s there – except for its haunting umami).
- We use kosher salt for cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using table salt, start with about half as much as we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
- There is a close cousin of this dish that uses broccoli rabe instead of broccoli. That dish often contains Italian sausage and generally features orecchiette (little ears) as the pasta shape of choice.
- We use weight (rather than volume) measures in this recipe. For a dish like this, we just find it easier.
- Speaking of which: Our kitchen scale is probably our most used kitchen tool. We use it multiple times a day.
- If you don’t have a kitchen scale, we urge you to get one. A good digital scale isn’t expensive. It will weigh ingredients both in grams and ounces (plus kilograms and pounds). Look for one that has a “tare” feature – this allows you to add ingredients to the scale, then reset to zero before adding additional ingredients. For example, the tare feature allows you to place a measuring bowl (or other container) on the scale, then reset it back to zero before adding whatever ingredient you want to weigh.
“Bellissima,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Tasty, satisfying, even healthy.”
“It’s really a good recipe,” I said. “Definitely not an impasta.”
“That was tortellini brilliant,” said Mrs K R. “Not.”
“I cannoli agree,” I said.
“The pastabilities for jokes like this are endless,” said Mrs K R. “But we better bring this to a close.”
Right. Pasta la vista, baby.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Mushroom and White Bean Ragout
Pasta alla Norma
Creamy Pasta with Asparagus and Ham
Pasta weith Cauliflower and Olives
Pasta with Zucchini and Mushrooms
Penne alla Vodka
Or check out the index for more
Hi John, I absolutely know that this is a fantastic combination and a wonderful vegetarian meal :) Great minds, definitely think a like! Love your stove top method preparing the broccoli!
Hi Marcelle, I know how much you like the broccoli/pasta combo from your last post! We love this dish -- SO much flavor. Thanks for the comment.
That sounds amazing. I LOVE broccoli in stir fry and salad and especially in pasta!
Getting my husband to eat his vegetables is not an easy task. Thanks for helping me with this recipe.
Hi Balvinder, broccoli is SO good and so versatile -- one of our favorite veggies. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Gerlinde, bet your husband will like this -- truly good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Broccoli salad -- always a good idea. I just made two different ones (from one pot of cooked broccoli). But I've been leaving out the pasta -- just broccoli & tomatoes & other vegetables, or broccoli, olives, and hard boiled eggs, or something like that. Your cheese idea would also be good.
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
I need to make this soon. Thank you for sharing. Happy Wednesday.
Hi Mae, really like the idea of broccoli, olives, and hard boiled eggs. Will be giving that a try. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi R, Happy Wednesday! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Parm and broccoli just go together! Love how easy this is, John. :)
Yum, love pasta meals!
Guilt free and full of flavor. GREG
The dish looks delicious, but your post has also made me summon my inner Lou Reed and sing. Holly came from Miami F.L.A. Hitch_hiked her way across the U.S.A. Plucked her eyebrows on the way . . .
Hi Judy, easy and good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Natalia, pasta is good stuff, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Greg, totally guilt free. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Anne, :-) That's such a great song, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.
I love your banter, it's very clever. This is the penultimate quick dinner. Freshly cooked broccoli with the carbs of pasta and garlic. I sometimes boil the pasta for a few minures then add sliced garlic and broccoli heads with a littke evoo. Ket sinner 8 minutes and serve as a thick soup. With lashings
Of parmesan. Your meal looks so much prettier 🙂
Meatless, easy to make, and delicious!
Hi Merryn, I've made a dish rather similar to yours in the past. And probably will again. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Denise, what's not to like? :-) Thanks for the comment.
I am an omnivore but cannot understand for all the tea in China why vegetables are not associated with pure joy of eating and seem to be a 'force-feed' necessary for good health !! Broccoli is one of the 'beloved' in this house and your recipe is a great variant ! No blanching as one loses both vitamins and texture . . . perhaps a wee less garlic vut certainly the anchovies . . .
Hi Eha, we really love veggies, and broccoli is right up there as one of our favorites. So good, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
we love our veg in this house, and broccoli is always on the menu in winter. hubby loves pasta (me, not so much) so this would suit him down to the ground:)
Hi Sherry, you might like the white bean version of this -- really tasty. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This is the only way I can get my hubby to eat more veggies!! Perfect!
Hi Pat & Dahn, :-) Thanks for the comment.
The simplicity at its finest, John. This is definitely a keeper!
Hi Angie, we know all about simple! :-) Thanks for the comment.
What a simply tasty dish. Count me in!
Hi Abbe, you're counted in! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I do love pasta and veggies. I love how light this sounds!
I really like your suggestion of stir-frying the broccoli and with beans. Perfect weeknight dinner. Thanks John.
Hi Jeff, this is really pretty light. And really satisfying! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Lea Ann, we prepare this dish that way a lot. It's good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
John, I am allergic to garlic, but I could still enjoy this dish without it. I'm going to pick up some broccoli today. And I so agree with you about the scale.
It's a decent recipe & easy to adjust to one's liking, since no recipe is chiseled in stone. I didn't add the salt b/c I used used Pecorino Romano cheese (which is on the saltier side) since we like our cheeses to have that 'funky' flavor. BTW, I've never yet met an Italian who didn't like garlic....myself & my family included.
Hi Jean, the garlic in this dish is good, but it's still good without. And scales are SO useful, aren't they? Thanks for the comment.
Hi Anonymous, yup, as we always say, season to your taste, not ours. :-) Thanks for the comment.
It looks like a healthy and delicious recipe--I love broccoli with pasta.
Hi Pam, we like broccoli with anything! But it's particularly nice with pasta. :-) Thanks for the comment.
So simple but oh so good! This is the type of dish that really makes me look forward to young spring broccoli.
Sounds perfect for a meatless Lenten meal! I have everything on hand!!
Hi MJ, we love this kind of food! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Liz, this really is a good Lenten dish. Thanks for the comment.
I love broccoli on pasta and think it’s fun that you and Marcelle are on the same wavelength! You know there’s no garlic here but I would make this with a lot of shallots!
Hi David, that IS fun that Marcelle made a similar dish to ours. :-) I was thinking of you when I suggested the anchovies instead of the garlic, but shallots is a much better idea. Thanks for the comment.
This would be loved by everyone in my family! So delicious and so so good!
I love that this is a lighter recipe and that it serves two. With so many pasta recipes, we are eating it for DAYS after.
Hi Taruna, really is a good dish, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Debra, we've been adapting loads of recipes for two people - because we're two! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Caramelizing the broccoli in the oven or in a cast-iron pan is also incredible tasting in pasta. The natural sweetness of the broccoli intensifies, plus you get all those delightful crispy edges. ;)
Hi Carolyn, good idea -- love browned, crispy broccoli! Thanks for the comment.
This is fabulous. I'd have to drizzle more olive oil and add more cayenne flakes, but that's just me. I love this recipe. Simple, flavorful, healthy.
Hi Mimi, more olive oil is always an option! And we'll never say no to more red pepper. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Absolutely wonderful meal John...lots of broccoli and garlic, and yes cheese...this sure makes a great vegetarian meal...thanks for the recipe.
Have a great week ahead!
Hi Juliana, this makes a terrific meatless Monday meal. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love the delicious simplicity of this dish. And great for any night of the week! :-) ~Valentina
Hi Valentina, easy and delish -- hard to beat, huh? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Looks delicious! Broccoli is one of the healthiest veggies and I'm always looking for new ways to use it.
Hi Amalia, healthy, and really good, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love the pasta and broccoli combination. A great meal for the Lenten season.
Hi Dawn, isn't this nice? SO good! :-) Thanks for the comment.
It's so nice working vegetables into pasta dishes, though I must admit, I don't think the cheese is optional ;)
Hi Laura, LOL re the cheese. :-) We agree! Thanks for the comment.
Simple and delicious. You know what we really love those seashell pasta shapes as they hold the flavor and cling on to all that parmesan cheese.
Hi Bobbi, we love that pasta shape. :-) Thanks for the comment.
John, your flavors are so perfect and balance... and your secret ingredient is definitely the grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese!
Hi Heidi, hard to go wrong with parmigiano-reggiano! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Post a Comment