Quick and Easy Creamy Broccoli Pasta


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Updated: / First Posted: 9 Comments

With simple ingredients that kids and parents will enjoy, this quick and easy family dinner of Creamy Broccoli Pasta is ready to go into regular rotation. Bonus: It takes only 20 minutes to make!

creamy broccoli pasta in white bowls

Creamy Broccoli Pasta

This lemony pasta with broccoli is a quick and easy family dinner that we love. It’s a nice way to change up pasta night and I love that it’s a satisfying vegetarian meal.

You cook the broccoli at the end of cooking the pasta—right in the same pot—which simplifies the process and means less clean up. Then, all you need to do is drain and toss with the sauce.

I make the sauce with ricotta cheese, a little of the pasta cooking water, lemon, and Parmesan. It’s such a yummy mix, especially for a toddler pasta!

ingredients in creamy broccoli pasta

Ingredients You Need

To make this easy family meal, you’ll need:

  • Pasta
  • Broccoli florets
  • Garlic powder
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Fresh lemon
  • Parmesan cheese

TIP: I like to use whole milk ricotta if possible for maximum creaminess.

how to make broccoli pasta step by step

Step by Step Instructions

Here’s a look at how to make this recipe. Scroll to the bottom of the post for the full info.

  1. Add the ingredients for the cottage cheese sauce to the blender.
  2. Blend smooth.
  3. Prepare pasta, adding the broccoli at the tail end of cooking. Drain and toss with butter.
  4. Toss the pasta and broccoli with the sauce, adding some reserved pasta water until creamy.

TIP: Ladle out some of the pasta water before you drain so you have it set aside and ready to use.

What kind of pasta is best for this recipe?

You can really use whichever type of pasta you prefer, though regular semolina or whole wheat pasta will leave gluten in the pasta water that will help to make the sauce smooth.

If you want to use gluten-free pasta, you can replace the pasta cooking water with broth or stock.

Can I use frozen broccoli in this recipe?

To use frozen broccoli instead of fresh, add it to the pasta cooking pot for just the final minute of cooking.

Can I make this recipe ahead?

Sure thing. Save any remaining pasta cooking water in an airtight container and add it to the pasta if it needs more moisture when reheating.

creamy broccoli pasta in white bowls

Best Tips for Success

  • Ladle out some of the pasta water before you drain so you have it set aside and ready to use.
  • Use whichever type of pasta your family prefers.
  • If using gluten-free pasta, you can use stock or broth instead of pasta water to smooth out the sauce.
  • Use full-fat ricotta cheese for the creamiest results.
  • Save any remaining pasta cooking water to add moisture when reheating the pasta.
  • To use frozen broccoli instead of fresh, add it to the pasta cooking pot for just the final minute of cooking.
  • Know that this is lemony!
  • You might also like Kale Pesto Pasta, Spinach Pesto Pasta, Avocado Pasta, and Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe, so please comment below to share.

This post was first published June 2019.

creamy-broccoli-pasta

Creamy Pasta with Broccoli

Feel free to cut this recipe in half to make a smaller portion for your family. (Or make the full batch and enjoy the leftovers!)

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 12 mins

Course Dinner

Cuisine Italian

Servings 8

Calories 309 kcal

Ingredients 

 

  • 16 ounces pasta
  • 16 ounces broccoli florets (about 2 small heads)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions 

  • Prepare pasta according to package directions, using a very large pot. Add the broccoli for the last 3 minutes of cooking. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.

  • Drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander. Return to the pot. Toss with the butter.

  • Meanwhile, add the ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, Parmesan cheese, and ¼ cup cold water to blender. Blend smooth.

  • Add the cheese mixture to the pot with the pasta and broccoli. Use a spatula to toss the pasta until coated, adding a little of the reserved pasta water at a time until a smooth, but thick sauce forms.

  • Transfer pasta to a large bowl and top with additional cheese to serve—if desired.

  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat to serve, stirring in a little of the reserved pasta water, regular water, or broth if needed.

Notes

  • Ladle out some of the pasta water before you drain so you have it set aside and ready to use.
  • Use whichever type of pasta your family prefers.
  • If using gluten-free pasta, you can use stock or broth instead of pasta water to smooth out the sauce.
  • Save any remaining pasta cooking water to add moisture when reheating the pasta.
  • To use frozen broccoli instead of fresh, add it to the pasta cooking pot for just the final minute of cooking.
  • This does taste lemony so you may want to reduce the amount of lemon juice slightly if that flavor is new to your kids.
  • Use cottage cheese instead of ricotta if preferred.

Nutrition

Calories: 309kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 14gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 359mgPotassium: 348mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 532IUVitamin C: 53mgCalcium: 132mgIron: 1mg

Keyword broccoli pasta, creamy broccoli pasta, pasta with broccoli



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