Pasta with Broccoli

There are already several variations of pasta with broccoli on this blog, but this version stands out because it is literally not much more than pasta with broccoli. Other than those two ingredients, there is only water, salt, pepper, and (optional!) a bit of extra virgin olive oil. So it is completely vegan. And it is very good! Of course you can add all sorts of things like garlic, anchovies, chilli, and parsley, or cheese. But the point of this post is that even just pasta with broccoli can taste very good. What is also nice about this recipe is that it uses all of the broccoli (so there is zero waste), and that it uses a single pot (so not a lot of washing up). And it is ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta. Give it a try and you’ll be surprised how good something this simple can be.


For 2 servings

150-200 grams (.33-.44 lb) short pasta, I used whole-wheat penne

500 grams (1.1 lb) broccoli

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp (or more) of the best extra virgin olive oil you can afford


Put the water on the stove for the pasta. Meanwhile, separate the broccoli florets from the trunk. Break or chop the florets and roughly chop the trunk into pieces that are large enough that you can easily fish them out later.

The times indicated here valid if the pasta you are using requires 10 to 13 minutes for al dente. When the water boils, add salt and the pasta.

Add the broccoli trunk as well. Set the timer for the the time indicated on the package for al dente, minus 5 minutes. So if the pasta takes 11 minutes, set the timer for 6 minutes.

When the timer beeps, add the broccoli florets, and set the timer for 3 minutes.

When the timer beeps again, lift the trunk out. Set the timer for the final 2 minutes of pasta cooking time.

Take a bit of the pasta cooking water as well.

Blend the trunk with the pasta cooking water until smooth.

When the timer beeps for the final time, drain the pasta and broccoli florets.

Return pasta and broccoli florets to the pot (with the heat turned off). Add the pureed broccoli trunk and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Add a bit of very good extra virgin olive oil. It has to be fragrant, otherwise you might as well skip it. Just a teaspoon is enough to take this dish to the next level.

Stir gently to mix. (You don’t want to mash the broccoli florets too much.)

Serve at once on preheated plates.



Sweet potato pie is a soul food dessert that is like pumpkin pie, but made with sweet potato.


18 thoughts on “Pasta with Broccoli

  1. An absolute ‘yes’ and I am certainly not vegan nor out to lose weight with this! Love the use of wholemeal pasta and how you make use of the stems but personally do not ever put a vegetable into water and lose most of the vitamins and minerals . . . this would work with a steamer atop the boiling pasta for me 🙂 !!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Bravo for your homework and thanks for the link! Oh yes, I know that it is not ‘that’ simple: remember I am a doctor who ‘boringly’ has studied nutrition since 1994 and is still doing so 🙂 ! . . . . personal choice: my office being in my home I am lucky as far as time goes . . . .

        Liked by 1 person

  2. this must be one of the most popular pasta dishes outside Italy: also very well known here in the UK – and for a good reason, of course.
    On wholemeal pasta: it can be very good or dead boring. Here in London I can buy some super Italian brands in a few, selected Italian shop, but generally it is of the mass-produced variety (Buitoni or similar, not even De Cecco): a very special one is Afeltra for instance.
    Thanks for the New York Times’ article: good to know. I tend to be pretty boring when I make this pasta and I stick to orecchiette, plus the usual suspect, garlic fried in oil, chilly and a little chopped anchovy (but I think it also works well with spaghetti, especially they way u have made it, processing the vegetables to get a sort of sauce). ciao, stefano

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I make pasta with broccoli I often make a classic Pugliese version (which should really be made with cime di rape but that is difficult to find here) with orecchiette, anchovies, peperoncino, and garlic.
      I’ve found some wholewheat pasta that has an acceptable texture, but it is never as good as regular durum wheat pasta. But it does have more fiber…


  3. This recipe is the epitome of Italian cooking, use the best, freshest ingredients and don’t over complicate it. The broccoli sauce looks wonderful, and I just love the bright green colour. The simplicity also makes it a lovely week-night meal when one just doesn’t have the time to invest in a complex recipe. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

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