A full head of broccoli is cooked down into a pesto like sauce with onion, parmesan, garlic and lemon juice in this pasta with broccoli sauce. With minimal fuss and a short list of ingredients, this fresh flavoured pasta is an easy, meatless, family friendly meal.
Pasta with broccoli sauce! This easy meatless pasta dish has quickly moved up into our list of much loved recipes. The pesto-like broccoli sauce is a nice change from tomato or cream based sauces, and I really love that it packs a whole large head of broccoli into the meal upping the nutritional game of pasta night.
Why you're going to love this!
- Quick and easy - this recipe is as close to a one pot pasta meal as you can get - simply cook the sauce in a couple easy steps and mix with pasta.
- Family friendly - broccoli is a much loved vegetable and it makes a perfect kid friendly meal, especially when combined with pasta!
- Meatless - we love eating meatless at least a couple of nights a week and this pasta is a perfect easy meatless meal.
- Pantry recipe - it's pretty likely you have everything on hand to make this recipe, and it's easy to keep the ingredients stocked for future meals. No fresh broccoli? You can use frozen! Just skip adding the water when you steam the broccoli. Fresh lemon juice can be substituted for 2 Tablespoons of bottled lemon juice as well.
- Pasta - I used dischi, but these may be hard to find. Excellent substitutes are orecchiette, radiatore or gemelli. Basically any small pasta with folds and twists that make it great for holding on to a thick sauce will do.
- Broccoli florets - I used fresh here, but you can also use frozen. If you do, skip adding the water.
- Onion - I used a regular cooking onion, but any onion will do.
- Olive oil - to fry the onions and bring a richer flavour to the sauce
- Garlic - in my opinion, it's broccolis best friend. If you want a stronger garlic flavour, go ahead and add a couple extra cloves.
- Parmesan cheese - good substitutes here are asiago or grana padano
- Red chili flakes - for a little bit of a kick. These are completely optional.
How to make it
- Cook the pasta - cook according to package directions in a pot of heavily salted water.
- Saute onions and garlic - saute the onions and garlic in a bit of oil until they are fragrant.
- Steam broccoli - add the water and broccoli florets then cover the pan and steam until the broccoli is fork tender.
- Mash the broccoli and season - using a potato masher or similar instrument mash the broccoli into a paste. Add the lemon juice, parmesan cheese, remainder of the olive oil and chili flakes then season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
- Mix in the pasta - Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, mix well to combine and serve. Garnish with some extra parmesan cheese, more chili flakes and zest from the lemon rind if you used a fresh lemon
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Pasta with Broccoli Sauce
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- 8 oz dischi ((or other pasta like orichiette,radiatore, etc))
- 1⁄3 cup olive oil
- 1 onion (diced)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 large head broccoli
- ¼ cup water
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 lemon ( juice of)
- 2 tsp red chili flakes
- sea salt & pepper
- Fill a large pot with well salted water and bring to a boil to cook the pasta. Cook according to package directions.
- Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to a large skillet heat to medium and saute the diced onions and garlic for a minute or two.
- Add the chopped broccoli florets to the pan along with a ¼ cup of water then cover and steam for about 5 minutes or until the broccoli is fork tender.
- Using a potato masher or a fork mash the broccoli down into a sauce like paste.
- Add the lemon juice, red chili peppers and season with salt and pepper.
- Add parmesan cheese to the sauce and mix through just before serving.
- mix pasta with the sauce and serve garnished with parmesan cheese and lemon zest.