This is one of my best emergency quick dinner ideas and 2-in-1 veg plus carb side dish. Broccoli, pasta and not much else, it’s a little bit lemony, a little bit cheesy and a whole lot of yum. The broccoli is cooked with the pasta then stirred vigorously with sauce to make it juicy and saucy
Add this to your arsenal of broccoli recipes – this one is a keeper!
Super QUICK broccoli pasta!
If you dream of 12 minute dinner magic, you’re going to love this broccoli recipe as much as I do. It’s for all those days when:
you’re staring at broccoli with not much else in the pantry, wondering how on earth you’re going to transform that into a totally delicious meal;
it’s a mad house and you just need to get dinner on the table, stat!
you want to hide a LOT of broccoli in something that everyone will love. There’s 2 whole heads in this – but it definitely doesn’t seem like it!
you’re after a quick side dish to serve with that charcoal chook you picked up enroute home, the sticky chicken thighs or crispy pan fried fish you’re making, those marinated pork chops or the garlic butter mushrooms you’re roasting in the oven.
It’s also what you make when you’re a food blogger who can’t resist a bargain and “accidentally” brought home SIX heads of broccoli…..😂
What goes in broccoli pasta
what all you need to make this:
Broccoli – TWO BIG HEADS!
Some kind of pasta – preferably short, but even long will work
Some kind of cheese – either parmesan or something that can melt into the sauce (both is the best case scenario)
Some kind of fat – preferably extra virgin olive oil, otherwise normal olive oil or butter
So even if you have just the above 4 ingredients, your broccoli pasta is still going to be very tasty – everything else I use is a flavour bonus!
I love using lemon in this recipe – but it’s optional. It’s not a strong tangy lemon flavour, it’s in the background and helps create more sauce to toss through the pasta without adding tons of oil.
12 minute broccoli recipe!
This is not a Jamie Oliver 15 Minute Meals type recipe where you use every appliance, pot and pan in your kitchen and it’s a whirlwind of frantic chaos for
15 30 minutes then you spend a good 40 minutes cleaning up afterwards.
No no no! This is a totally effortless 12 minute recipe with a great flow to it. Here’s how it goes down:
Cook pasta per the packet directions.
Chop & cook broccoli – While the pasta is cooking, chop the broccoli then add it into the water when the pasta is 2 minutes from being done.
Make sauce – Make the simple lemony pasta sauce
Scoop out 1 cup pasta cooking water <– KEY STEP! This is how we make plenty of sauce without using tons of oil! Add 1/2 cup of this into the sauce and shake (reserve the rest of the water for later in case you need it).
Put everything in pot – Drain the pasta and return to the same pot. Add the Sauce and cheese,
Toss the pasta, sauce, water and cheese until it’s nice and juicy. Then DEVOUR!!
I always struggle to capture how juicy pastas like this are – when the sauce is clear rather than bright red and meaty like Bolognese. If you’re not convinced with the photos, watch the quick recipe video below!
I haven’t loaded this Broccoli Pasta with tons of cheese. I use it more to create the sauce, rather than making this a really cheesy pasta. Also an attempt to keep the calorie count to a respectable level for a big bowl.
However, this Cheese-Loving Carb Monster will certainly not judge if you choose to be (way) more generous with the cheese.
Go on, do it, do it, do it! *she whispers cheekily in your ear* 😂 ~ Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Really Quick Broccoli Pasta
- 350g / 12 oz dried short pasta (I used small shells)
- 2 broccoli heads (BIG!)
- 1 cup shredded cheese (or more!)
Pasta Sauce (Notes for subs):
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (or more!)
- 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup parmesan , finely grated
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 tsp mixed dried herbs (or fresh!)
- 1/2 tsp+ red pepper flakes (add more if you want spicy!)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- More parmesan
- Cook pasta: Boil a large pot of water with 2 tsp salt, add pasta.
While pasta is cooking:
- Chop broccoli: Chop broccoli into small florets.
- Cook broccoli: Add broccoli into water 1 – 2 minutes before pasta is cooked.
- Sauce ingredients in jar: Place Sauce ingredients in a jar with lid.
- Reserve pasta water: SCOOP OUT 1 cup pasta cooking water just before draining. Then drain and return pasta back into same pot on turned off stove.
- Add pasta water into Sauce: Add 1/2 cup pasta water to Pasta Sauce jar, shake well.
- Add Sauce & Cheese to pasta: Pour Sauce and add cheese into pot with pasta.
- Stir then serve! Stir vigorously, adding more pasta water if required. Add more salt and pepper if required. Serve immediately, garnished with parmesan.
- Pasta – any short pasta is fine here, macaroni/elbow, twirls, penne, ziti, orecchiette etc.
- Broccoli – this dish can take loads of broccoli, and still worth making even if you’re a bit short (or scale recipe down – click on servings and slide).
- Cheese – any melting cheese fine here, preferably flavoured like cheddar, Monterey Jack, tasty, gruyere, Swiss. Mozzarella also fine but you’ll probably need more salt.
- Parmesan – store bought pre grated fine in this recipe. OK if you don’t have (as long as you have shredded cheese!)
- Lemon – not intended to be a full on lemon pasta, but the subtle tang and hint of lemon is terrific. Feel free to jack up the lemon flavour. Subs: 1.5 tbsp more oil or a mild vinegar like white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, even rice wine.
- Garlic – could stir through green onions instead, or add 1/2 tsp garlic or onion powder into Sauce. OR finely grate any onion and add 2 tbsp it into dressing (juices and all).
- Herbs – mixed herbs includes a bit of rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano, dried basil. Feel free to use any you want, skip it, OR use fresh herbs
- 1/2 cup sliced fresh basil right at the end would be amazing
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup chives, parsley
- 2 tbsp oregano
- Red pepper flakes – for touch of heat, totally optional
- Sugar – totally optional (takes edge off the sour)
Originally published April 2019. Post refreshed in October 2021 along with new video edits. No change to recipe – I wouldn’t dare touch it!
More broccoli recipes
I’m a big fan of broccoli so I’ve shared quite a few recipes. Love the flavour, how versatile it is and it’s good for you!
Chicken broccoli rice casserole – tastes like a cheesy risotto, but so much easier to make!
Broccoli gratin – creamy yet no cream with a golden crunchy top
Browse all Broccoli recipes
Life of Dozer
Dozer on the RIGHT side of the counter at Pet-O! I swear that place is Disney Land for dogs. He gets lavished with attention by everyone who works there, sooo many treats, then he runs around like a loon in the warehouse, grabbing toys and treats off the shelves, leaving me with no option other than to buy them.
I grumble and complain every time I spend way more than intended, and yet the thought of leaving him at home to go to the pet store without him never crosses my mind (and the one time I had to, the staff were very concerned about his well being!).