This Broccoli Pasta is a simple go to weeknight dinner that kids and adults can both agree on. It will become a regular in your dinner rotation.
I have made it no secret with my dad that I don’t think his best quality is his cooking. Love you, Dad! (For the record, I think his best quality is his huge compassionate heart.) But! He has a few recipes up his sleeve that are winners.
This Broccoli Pasta recipe is one of those. This was a staple in my house growing up. I can remember standing next to my dad at the stove as he made this delicious easy vegetarian dinner. It’s like a big bowl of comfort.
I have a few friends who are raising vegetarian kiddos, and I beg them to give this dish a try. I think it’s something the whole family will love.
Simple Pasta Dinner
This easy dinner recipe only requires a few ingredients which is one of the things that makes it a winner.
Pasta – I like to go with shells, but you can use whatever you have
Red Pepper Flakes
That’s it, my friends. You truly can’t beat simple dinners.
The Cheese Matters
As my dad told me when passing off this great recipe, it is a simple recipe, which means you must pick your cheese carefully.
I urge you to grab a block of parmesan cheese and freshly grate your own for this recipe. It really can make the difference between you like and loving this recipe. And blocks of parmesan keep so well in the refrigerator for a while.
How to Make Broccoli Pasta
Even though this is a simple recipe, there are a few key steps that I want to make note of.
Make sure to cook your pasta according to package instructions. This means bringing your water to a roaring boil before adding the dry noodles. And be sure to cook them only as long as the package suggests.
Remove 1/4 cup of cooking water before draining the noodles. That pasta water is starchy and is going to be perfect for helping cook the broccoli.
Heat oil in a skillet before adding any ingredients.
Be careful not to burn your garlic when you add it to the hot oil. You will only be cooking it for about 30 seconds before adding the broccoli.
Grab a cover for the pan. It helps steam the garlic and make it perfectly tender for this recipe.
If You Burn Your Garlic
Again, given the few number of ingredients, we want them to be perfect. If you should find that you did burn your garlic, all is not lost!
Just start over with new oil and fresh garlic. Also, be sure to clean the pan well before starting over so none of the burnt garlic taste remains.
Like a lot of recipes, this one comes together quickly if you are able to multi task.
Because we are using pasta water for this, we need to wait until the pasta finishes cooking before we move on to sautéing the broccoli.
Do yourself a favor and start cooking the pasta right away before you prep any other ingredients. If you can get your pasta water boiling before you start gathering your ingredients, you will be ready to roll with the broccoli right when the pasta is done, making this a 26 minute recipe.
Other Great Vegetarian Dinners
If you are eating less meat these days or if you are cooking for someone who is eating vegetarian, here are a few other great ideas:
My Black Bean Tacos are my favorite. They are so simple but absolutely delicious.
Even your meat eaters won’t miss the meat with this Southwestern Mac and Cheese. It’s total delicious comfort food.
My Greek Quinoa Salad makes a filling dinner and even better left overs.
If you make this Broccoli Pasta and love it, come back and let me know! And if you make any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear what you think.
1/2 pound pasta shells cooked according to package instructions, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water before draining
1 pound broccoli (3 small heads or 4 cups florets) cut into small florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus more for topping
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package, reserving 1/4 cup of cooking water before draining.
While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Cut the broccoli, mince the garlic, and shred the cheese.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant, being careful not to burn it.
Add the broccoli, pasta water, and a teaspoon of salt. Cook until the broccoli is tender, about 4 minutes.
Toss with the cooked pasta. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.