A simple delicious vegetarian recipe for Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce – full of flavor and nutrients! 

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce - a simple vegetarian pasta dish hailing from Tuscany that is easy to make, healthy and oh so delicious!| #Orecchiette #broccolipasta #orechiettepasta #broccolirecipes #vegetarian #pastarecipes #healthypastarecipes |www.feastingathome.com #feastingathomeWe rise by lifting others. ― R. Ingersoll 

After taking a week-long cooking class in Italy, a friend brought back this traditional Tuscan recipe with him and made it for his wife. Truth be told, when she first described it, how the broccoli was cooked down and melted into a sauce, I had some reservations. The thought of mushy broccoli seemed really off-putting, but as she continued describing how luscious and creamy the broccoli sauce actually became, the way the orecchiette pasta cradled it so perfectly, my interest was piqued.

So this became our dinner last night, and I have to say,  it was delicious! And a whole lot of broccoli went into this!

 

Watch the quick video to see how easy it is!

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce - a simple vegetarian pasta dish hailing from Tuscany that is easy to make, healthy and oh so delicious!| #Orecchiette #broccolipasta #orechiettepasta #broccolirecipes #vegetarian #pastarecipes #healthypastarecipes |www.feastingathome.com #feastingathome

Ingredients in Broccoli Pasta

How to make Broccoli Pasta

Step one: Steam the broccoli, cook the pasta, and save the hot pasta water.

I used a whole 12-ounce bag of broccoli florets ( about 6 cups, packed)  cut into smaller pieces and then steamed until tender.

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce - a simple vegetarian pasta dish hailing from Tuscany that is easy to make, healthy and oh so delicious!| #Orecchiette #broccolipasta #orechiettepasta #broccolirecipes #vegetarian #pastarecipes #healthypastarecipes |www.feastingathome.com

Step two: Saute the cooked broccoli along with garlic, olive oil and veggie broth, until it falls apart, melts, and cooks down into a sauce.

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce - a simple vegetarian pasta dish hailing from Tuscany that is easy to make, healthy and oh so delicious!| #Orecchiette #broccolipasta #orechiettepasta #broccolirecipes #vegetarian #pastarecipes #healthypastarecipes |www.feastingathome.com

Step Three: Create depth.

If you are not vegetarian, for added depth, try adding a little anchovy paste, starting very light, adding more to taste.

Miso paste is a nice vegetarian option, as well as capers.

Step Four: Add the cooked pasta and taste for salt.  Add a little warm pasta water if you like it looser or saucier.

Step Five: Garnish with lots of chili flakes, lemon zest and grated pecorino cheese.

Orecchiette pasta holds the broccoli sauce like a little scoop.

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce - a simple vegetarian pasta dish hailing from Tuscany that is easy to make, healthy and oh so delicious!| #Orecchiette #broccolipasta #orechiettepasta #broccolirecipes #vegetarian #pastarecipes #healthypastarecipes |www.feastingathome.com

Serve it up in your favorite pasta bowl.

Sprinkle with parmesan or romano cheese which will add both flavor and depth.

Lemon zest will give this a delicious brightness, and a tiny drizzle of truffle oil will elevate!

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce - a simple vegetarian pasta dish hailing from Tuscany that is easy to make, healthy and oh so delicious!| #Orecchiette #broccolipasta #orechiettepasta #broccolirecipes #vegetarian #pastarecipes #healthypastarecipes |www.feastingathome.com #feastingathome

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce should be on your next menu plan- it’s full of great broccoli nutrients and flavor, your kids will love this too!

Other Broccoli Recipes you may like

xoxo

Sylvia

SHOP THE POST!  Serve your delicious pasta in beautiful, handmade Ceramic bowls – found at our Bowl and Pitcher Store!

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Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce - a simple Italian vegetarian pasta that is full of flavor and nutrients! | www.feastingathome.com

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: vegetarian main
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce – a simple vegetarian pasta dish hailing from Tuscany that is easy to make, healthy and oh so delicious!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 12 ounces broccoli florets- cut or broken into very small florets about equal size (about 6 cups packed)
  • 8 ounces short pasta- orecchiette pasta, penne, rigatoni, etc
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 fat shallot, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves- rough chopped
  • generous pinch chili flakes ( Aleppo or Urfa biber is nice here)
  • generous pinch salt and pepper, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste (or sub 12 mashed anchovies)
  • 2 cups veggie broth or chicken broth
  • 12 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Garnish: grated parmesan or pecorino cheese,  lemon zest, truffle oil, fresh basil ribbons, toasted pine nuts, toasted bread crumbs, truffle oil or kalamata olives– all optional.

Instructions

  1. Steam small broccoli florets until very tender (easily pierced with a fork)and set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta in 8 cups water with 1 tablespoon salt (measure),  Save a cup of hot pasta water when you drain.
  3. In a large pan, saute the shallot and garlic and chili flakes in the olive oil, over medium heat until fragrant and golden, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the miso paste (or anchovy), then add steamed broccoli,  salt, pepper and the broth.
  4. Bring to a gentle simmer and start breaking apart the broccoli with a metal spatula into tiny pieces. As it cooks it will get easier to break apart. You want the broccoli to basically melt down into a “sauce”.  Continue simmering gently on low heat until half of the liquid evaporates and it becomes the consistency of a thick sauce, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. If it seems watery and separated, just keep cooking it down. It won’t be smooth- but just broken down and very very tender.
  6. Add the pasta. Toss well. Add more hot pasta water to keep it ” saucy.” Add the lemon zest.
  7. Taste for salt, adjust, adding more along with pepper, chili flakes. If you want more richness add another splash of olive oil (or pat of butter- my husband loves this). Stir in some optional pecorino.
  8. Divide among pasta bowls and top with any of the garnishes you like. Grated Parmesan or pecorino  adds depth,basil ribbons add flavor, and a drizzle of truffle oil elevates.
  9. Enjoy!

Notes

Sometimes I’ll halve the pasta (if cooking for two) and make this with the same amount of broccoli sauce, boosting the broccoli part. Just sayin’.;)

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: with the addition of ¾ cup parmesan
  • Calories: 351
  • Sugar: 3.2 g
  • Sodium: 518.3 mg
  • Fat: 12.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 49.2 g
  • Fiber: 7.5 g
  • Protein: 15.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 9.7 mg

Keywords: Orecchiette Pasta, Orecchiette, broccoli pasta, broccoli pasta recipes, orecchiette pasta recipe, broccoli recipes, vegetarian pasta recipes, healthy pasta recipes, vegetarian broccoli pasta

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce - a simple vegetarian Pasta dish hailing from Tuscany. #Orecchiette | www.feastingathome.com

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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Comments

  1. This is a favorite in our home! We top it with a bunch of lemon zest, chili flakes and oil cured olives. Thank you for another great recipe!

  2. That was truly delicious and after trying another online broccoli pasta dish – very satisfying. Key additions were the miso and chilli flakes.

  3. This was delicious, I love anchovies, doubled the recipe added the lemon zest and the juice of the lemon. Since I have all guys in my house I added the chicken breast of a costco rotisserie chicken, some fresh basil and sun deied tomatoes. It was out of this world and the guys all liked it.

  4. Love this recipe. It’s become a family favorite. I skip the miso but otherwise follow the recipe. Absolutely delicious. Thanks for this different take on broccoli pasta.

  5. Delicious and easy. Made recipe “as is” and another one of your “winners”. Made it as a side dish with baked tilapia. You are definitely one of our favorite chefs and every recipe I’ve made of yours, has been a TEN! Thanks for all your hard work creating these recipes. Happy Holidays.

  6. I made this (with miso as it was what I had) didn’t fancy pasta so added a bit more water and blended to make a yummy thick soup

  7. This was really great! The urfa biber provides just the right amount of kick without being too spicy for the kids. We added pecorino and it really balanced out the zest. My 10 year old wants to try this again, but with shrimp.

  8. Try cooking the broccoli with the pasta, put it in the salted water 5 minutes before the pasta is ready. Also add butter to the oil for a nutty taste. Also some chilli. Been doing this for years…so yum!

  9. I ran across this recipe while searching ramdomly for something vegetarian to cook a few days ago. After making sure I had all the ingredients, I made it last night. It was absolutely delicious, worthy of 5 stars. I had to adapt the recipe to accomodate a low-FODMAP diet, so I cut out the fresh garlic and shallot and used a garlic-infused olive oil instead. I opted for anchovies (I fudged a little bit here), toasted pine nuts, Kalamata olives, and added small cocktail tomatoes because we love tomatoes. I added a dry cheese I had on hand and the whole dish was PERFECT! I also copied a few Mexican recipes from this site this morning, I’ll let you know how it goes.

  10. If you add a pinch of baking soda to the simmering broccoli it will retain it’s color much better. Learned this trick from a cooking show on TV and have used it with asparagus, green beans, kale as well as broccoli.
    I emphasize that you use a pinch, maybe a scant 1/4 tsp for the whole head.

    1. This is BRILLIANT Linda! I will have to try this. Learn something new everyday. Love it, thanks!

  11. Wow! Such a great recipe to use broccoli as a pasta sauce. So healthy and I noted some comments that after cooking the steamed broccoli in the sauce to break it up the bright green color was diminished. I added a “pop” of green of a cup of frozen peas to the sauce for about a minute to upped the green theme.

  12. This is one of my husband’s all time favorites now! We make it about twice a month and finish it with home made pesto. The red pepper flakes gives it a nice kick and the miso adds depth. It’s great leftover too!