• Alessandra DeNardo

Pasta with Broccoli

Updated: Feb 26, 2021

This my favorite dish. Perfect for SO MANY THINGS. Make it on a date night, make it for your family, make it because you want to eat a vegetable, make it because you want to put minimal effort into dinner, ETC. I call it "Broccoli Pesto" because the broccoli gets mushy. Don't expect a crunch. If you're looking for a crunch x this out. I add the broccoli to the boiling pasta water right before the pasta, and that is typically enough cook-time to get falling-apart broccoli that kind of melts into the dish and becomes a sauce. You can also add whatever you want. I had a huge phase of making pasta with broccoli and SAUSAGE. Pasta with broccoli and TOMATOES. This time, I made it vegetarian and added cannellini beans for protein because I've been eating a lot of meat lately. However, I will give you all options in the recipe. Feel free to include sausage, beans, AND tomatoes.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped

  • 1 Lb (OR LESS, if you make less, you will have more broccoli which is what I do) of pasta of choice. Rigatoni or Farfalle are best with this.

  • IF MAKING SAUSAGE: 2-4 sausage links (depends how much you want), removed from casing

  • IF MAKING BEANS: 1 can or 2 C of beans. Strain half the liquid.

  • 10-15 cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped

  • 1 C Parmesan Cheese (for sauce, not garnish)

  • Olive Oil/Red Pepper/Salt/Pepper (duh)

  • Fresh Parsley/Basil to garnish

  • Pecorino Romano for serving


  1. Boil a large pot of water

  2. If you are making sausage, begin to brown in a large skillet, breaking up the pieces as it cooks. Add 1 TBSP or so of olive oil.

  3. Boil a pot of water. When it begins to boil, salt the water and add broccoli.

  4. Immediately following the broccoli, add pasta.

  5. Add garlic to the skillet and begin to brown. Add another TBSP of olive oil.

  6. If using beans or tomatoes, add these to the skillet now (at same time you add pasta/broccoli) and let cook down. Add 1 more TBSP of olive oil if seems dry.

  7. Season your sauce - salt, red pepper, dried italian herbs (oregano, parsley, basil).

  8. When pasta is halfway done cooking, add 1 C pasta water to your sausage, beans, and tomatoes skillet. Mix and let simmer and come together like a sauce.

  9. Reserve another C pasta water. Put to side.

  10. When pasta is done, strain and add directly to the large skillet with the beans/sausage.

  11. Add 1 C parmesan cheese and 1/2 C more pasta water. Stir until everything is creamy.

  12. If it seems dry, add the rest of the pasta water.

  13. Garnish with olive oil (preferably good quality), parsley, basil, and RED PEPPER. Red pepper is the best on this.

  14. Eat with pecorino romano, of course.

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