Pasta with broccoli

Moving into 2021, I’ve decided that I want to share recipes that people with busy lives can create with ease. My husband and I work full time, and it’s not always easy or realistic to prepare an extravagant dinner (especially with a toddler running around)!

Pasta with broccoli is something my mom made when I was growing up, and I’ve continued the tradition by making it for my family as well. Since I grew up eating it, it feels like a comfort food. I come from an Italian family, and people expect Italians to constantly create lavish and complicated meals. Instead, I grew up often eating what my family jokingly refers to as poor man’s food. AKA, we cooked with whatever we had on-hand.

Instead of broccoli this dish can be prepared with cauliflower, squash, or zucchini. I prefer broccoli due to the texture and color of the sauce!

First, we start by boiling the broccoli in a large pot of boiling water. Don’t forget to salt your water! I stir frequently for about eight minutes. 

After about eight minutes of stirring just the broccoli, we’ll leave it in the pot and add the uncooked pasta, stirring occasionally. I love spaghetti or penne pasta for this recipe, but I always tell people to get creative and use their favorite! 

The goal is to overcook the broccoli so, when it’s combined with olive oil at the end, it turns into a pesto. Because of this, the broccoli needs to cook for a total of 20 minutes. 

You may need to add in your pasta sooner or later than eight minutes, depending on how long it takes the pasta to cook. The pasta I use requires 10-12 minutes to cook, so I add it after 8 minutes of the broccoli boiling. If using a pasta that cooks more quickly, like angel hair, I would recommend adding it in after the broccoli has been boiling for closer to 15 minutes.

Once the pasta is ready, try to drain the pasta without dumping everything in the strainer. You want to keep as much of the broccoli as possibly, and sense it’s over cooked, you could lose a lot of it if you dump it all out.

You can leave about ½ cup of pasta water in the pot. Place the pot with the pasta and broccoli back on the stove and begin stirring. You’ll be able to see the broccoli begin to shred and fall apart.

Now, you’re ready to serve! I set out parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes for my family, in case they would like to top the pasta with either. Enjoy!

Pasta with Broccoli Recipe


  • 10 Cups of Broccoli (Roughly 5-6 Crowns)
  • 1 lb of Spaghetti or Penne Pasta
  • Salt
  • ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (enough to generously coat your pasta)
  • Optional: Parmesan Cheese
  • Optional: Red Pepper Flakes

Feeds: 4-6 People
Time to cook: 20-25 minutes


  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot and salt. Add broccoli to the pot. Set a timer for eight minutes and stir often.
  2. Add pasta when the timer goes off. Stir occasionally.
  3. Cook pasta according to the recommended time on the box.
  4. Once pasta is cooked, drain almost all water, leaving approximately ½ cup water in the pot.
  5. Add EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).
  6. Stir gently until broccoli shreds and falls apart completely.
  7. Optional: Serve with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.

Recipe notes:
Depending on the type of pasta used, the pasta may need to be added to the pot sooner or later than 8 minutes. Read cooking instructions on the pasta box and adjust time accordingly.

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