Easy Italian Broccoli and Pasta Recipe

If you’re having a hard time figuring out what to do with your broccoli, then you’ve got to try this easy broccoli and pasta recipe. It’s a classic standby and one that makes you feel less guilty when indulging in a big bowl of pasta!

Italian broccoli with pasta recipe

Recipe Summary

The recipe is very easy and uses minimal ingredients. Like many of my pasta recipes, it’s all about quality and simplicity of the ingredients. This is the key to good Italian cooking.

As you’ll see in the video, we prep and cook the broccoli while the pasta is boiling. Add it all together at the end, and top with some cheese. It’s that easy!

In this post, I’ll give you the ingredients you’ll need, a video (make sure to subscribe on YouTube to catch more videos), the recipe card for easy reading/printing, and some helpful tips that will make your dish all that much better!

Ingredients List

To make this recipe, all you need are the following ingredients. Quantities are flexible but I give some specific amounts in the recipe card right below the ingredients.

  • Broccoli – you can use fresh or frozen.
  • Garlic cloves – thinly sliced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Romano cheese
  • Pasta – I like linguini, penne, or other non-delicate pastas.
  • Pasta water – reserved before draining the pasta. You’ll only need about 1/4 cup.
  • Red pepper flakes – optional
  • Peas – optional

Recipe Video

Here’s the video that shows how crazy simple this healthy Italian pasta dish is. The printable recipe is right below the video.

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How to Make Pasta and Broccoli

pasta and broccoli th

Pasta and Broccoli Recipe

A beautiful Italian pasta recipe with broccoli! I use this recipe as a healthy alternative to a heavy sauce. Vegetarian too with lots of flavor!
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 350kcal


  • 2 heads broccoli cut into small florets you can use frozen too
  • 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced (use two for the more timid)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb pasta thicker such as short or linguini is best
  • 1/4 cup Pasta water reserved **Very Important
  • dash pepper flakes optional
  • grated Romano cheese


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil
  • Meanwhile wash and trim the broccoli and cut them into small florets.. TIP: For some of the stalks, you can shave off the outer part and then dice them in small pieces.
    2 heads broccoli cut into small florets
  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan (I used our 5.5 qt. Cuisinart French Classic Tri-Ply Stainless pan which I love!)
    3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Add in the sliced garlic and saute for about 3 minutes until fragrant
    4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • Add in the broccoli and about 1/4 cup water to get the broccoli cooking. This is not the reserved water mentioned above.
  • Add pasta to the boiling water and cook according to directions
    1 lb pasta
  • Meanwhile, cook broccoli until tender – a bright green. You do not want these mushy – you want them with some crunch.
  • When the pasta is done, reserve 1/4 cup of the water and set it aside. Then drain and transfer pasta to the large frying pan and mix with the broccoli.
    1/4 cup Pasta water reserved
  • Serve on plates or pasta bowls, and top with the grated Romano cheese and pepper flakes for those who like some spice. Use the pasta water if the pasta is too dry before serving.
    dash pepper flakes, grated Romano cheese


Nutritional information are estimates only and are based on API calculations. 
  1. The reason for keeping the pasta water reserves is in case the pasta is too dry before serving. This can happen when the dish is on the stove too long.  Using regular water dilutes the flavor so you want to use the pasta water instead. 
  2. Use a saute or frying pan large enough to accommodate all the pasta when you transfer it over into the broccoli.   I use my awesome 5.5qt Cuisinart pan which I love!). 
  3. Add extra olive oil in at the end if you prefer.  
  4. For recipe variations, side dish ideas and more, check out the rest of the post.


Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 192mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 48IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg

Recipe Modifications

To add some variations to this dish you can include additional vegetables such as asparagus, peas, red peppers, or anything else that might float your boat.

If you enjoy this type of recipe you may also enjoy these other pasta and vegetable dishes too.

Side Dish Suggestions

Here are some ideas for side dishes that will go great with your broccoli pasta.

italian summery salad

Try a healthy simple Italian salad. You can’t go wrong!

caprese salad th

You can also choose a healthy caprese salad that is refreshing, especially during the summer months!

Other Broccoli Recipes

This recipe is for anyone who doesn’t hate brocolli and hopefully that includes you. With most broccoli dishes such as my Italian broccoli recipe, or my broccolini recipe where I explain what is broccolini and how to cook it, you’ll find that they are loaded with lots of Italian flavor.

broccoli with garlic side dish

If you’re not a fan of pasta, try just cooking the broccoli Italian-style.

broccoli pizza th

How about broccoli on your pizza? This white pizza is wonderful!

broccolini side dish

Ever wonder what is broccolini? Here’s an article where I tell you and show you how to use it!

I hope you enjoy this recipe – and as always feel free to post your feedback!


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Easy Italian Broccoli and Pasta Recipe


  1. Hi Angie,

    I use the pasta water to keep it from drying out at the time I serve the pasta. I only use a little as needed. It’s not always needed, but it’s good to keep just in case. It’s not a sauce or anything like that, but many times if the pasta is too dry I’ll add a little in. The reason for the “reserve” and not just straight water is because the reserve water retains the pasta/starch flavor so it’s less likely to dilute the flavor of the pasta dish itself as just regular water would.

    I hope that makes sense and I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    Your pasta and broccoli recipe that I made turned out amazing! I used leftover pasta from a couple days before and it worked great. Thank you for a quick and easy meal recipe!

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