Broccoli Pasta

Quick Summary

Broccoli Pasta- This creamy, cheesy broccoli pasta takes less than 30 minutes to make and is a family favorite! It’s the perfect easy weeknight meal!

broccoli pasta in pot with bread crumbs and lemon slices.

We love making pasta, especially on busy weeknights. A few favorites include: pasta primavera, cacio e pepe, 5-ingredient spinach parmesan pasta, lemon spaghetti, and chicken penne pasta.

We also LOVE this easy Broccoli Pasta recipe. It takes less than 30 minutes to make and uses basic ingredients. It’s a staple dinner at our house and always gets two thumbs up.

Start with your favorite pasta and add vibrant nutritious and delicious broccoli. Smother the pasta and broccoli in a flavorful cream sauce with garlic, Parmesan cheese, and a hint of lemon. Finish the dish with buttery, crunchy panko bread crumbs and you have a delicious meal.

Kids and adults love this one. So if you are wondering how to get your kids to eat broccoli, make this Broccoli Pasta. It is a guaranteed dinner winner!

broccoli pasta ingredients on wood cutting board with knife.

Pasta Ingredients

  • Pasta– use your favorite pasta, any shape or size will work. We like penne, orecchiette, farfalle, fusilli, cavatappi…just to name a few. Any noodle shape will work!
  • Broccoli– use fresh broccoli that has been chopped into florets.
  • Butter– to create a rich base to the creamy sauce.
  • Shallot– adds lots of flavor, don’t skip it.
  • Garlic– I use 5 cloves, don’t be afraid of lots of garlic:)
  • Flour– for thickening the sauce.
  • Broth– I use vegetable broth to keep the pasta dish vegetarian, but chicken broth will also work.
  • Heavy cream– to stir in at the end.
  • Italian seasoning– a pantry staple!
  • Crushed red pepper– for a little kick.
  • Lemon– zest and juice!
  • Parmesan cheese– use freshly grated Parmesan cheese, the good stuff!

Panko Topping

The crispy, crunchy, buttery panko topping really makes this pasta dish special. It only takes a few minutes to make and you only need two ingredients, butter and panko!

Panko are made from a crustless white bread that is processed into flakes and then dried. You can find panko bread crumbs at most grocery stores. Look in the baking aisle.

To make the topping: In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.

toasted breadcrumbs in a white skillet with pasta in a bowl and lemons.

How to Make Broccoli Pasta

  • First make the toasted panko topping. In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Boil a large pot of water and salt generously. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Add the broccoli the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking time and cook until tender. Drain the pasta and broccoli and set aside.
butter, shallot, garlic, and flour in white skillet.
  • Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt the butter and add the shallot and garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour. Slowly pour in the broth, whisking continuously so the flour doesn’t clump up.
creamy pasta sauce in white pot with grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Stir in the heavy cream, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, and lemon zest. On medium-low, bring the sauce to a simmer and then stir in the Parmesan cheese. When the cheese is melted, stir in the lemon juice.
broccoli pasta in large white pot with cream sauce.
  • Add the pasta and broccoli, stir until well coated. Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Spoon the pasta onto plates or bowls and top with toasted panko topping and extra Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.
creamy broccoli pasta in bowl with toasted breadcrumbs, lemon slice, and silverware.

Variations

  • Add cooked cubed chicken or rotisserie chicken.
  • Add cooked sausage.
  • Stir in a can of rinsed and drained white beans.
  • Use cauliflower instead of broccoli.
  • Add more veggies! Mushrooms, peppers, spinach, and asparagus are all good options.
  • Stir in sun-dried tomatoes.

What to Serve with Broccoli Pasta

More Pasta Recipes

Broccoli Pasta

This creamy, cheesy broccoli pasta takes less than 30 minutes to make and is a family favorite! Perfect for an easy weeknight meal!
4.23 from 9 votes

Ingredients
  

For the Panko Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 cup panko

For the Pasta:

  • 12 ounces pasta
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • First make the toasted panko topping. In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Boil a large pot of water and salt generously. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Add the broccoli the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking time and cook until tender. Drain the pasta and broccoli and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt the butter and add the shallot and garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour. Slowly pour in the broth, whisking continuously so the flour doesn’t clump up.
  • Stir in the heavy cream, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, and lemon zest. On medium-low, bring the sauce to a simmer and then stir in the Parmesan cheese. When the cheese is melted, stir in the lemon juice.
  • Add the pasta and broccoli, stir until well coated. Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Spoon the pasta onto plates or bowls and top with toasted panko topping and extra Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 542kcal, Carbohydrates: 57g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 79mg, Sodium: 582mg, Potassium: 432mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1450IU, Vitamin C: 57mg, Calcium: 235mg, Iron: 2mg
Keywords broccoli, pasta

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I had all the ingredients on hand to make it last night. I added the suggested sun-dried tomatoes and white beans and everyone loved it. The sun-dried tomatoes are a must I think 😉

  2. 3 stars
    Made this tonight and loved it! The only change was I used a can of coconut milk for the cream because I can’t have dairy and then added sun dried tomatoes and it was so yummy! Thanks for sharing your recipes. ❤️

  3. 5 stars
    Wonderful! I added chopped, cooked chicken and mixed this in with the broccoli and Penne and lots of mozz, placed this into a casserole dish and covered it with stuffing. Next, I prepared some stuffing,

  4. Wonderful! I added (to the sauce) chopped, cooked chicken and mixed this in with the broccoli and Penne and lots of mozzarella cheese, placed this into a casserole dish and covered it with stuffing. cooked in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes… My family loved it! Fast, easy and tasty!