Quick One Pot Broccoli Pasta

No word of a lie, this recipe came about from wanting a low effort meal and Googling: broccoli pasta recipe and hitting the first result. Turns out: really, really good! Bonus, it has a lot of substitutes so you probably have everything in your pantry already.


  • Large pot
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Large spoon to stir
  • Bowl and whisk OR jar with lid (to mix sauce) 


  • 350 g dried short pasta (I used cavatappi, but you could also use shells or bowties)
  • 2 big heads of broccoli
  • 1 cup (or more) of shredded cheese (see notes) 


  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • ⅓ cup fine grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 minced garlic cloves OR ½-¾ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mixed dried herbs (see notes)
  • ¼-½ tsp + red pepper flakes (optional/to taste)
  • ½-1 tsp sugar
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice (see notes)


  1. Chop your broccoli heads into small florets and set aside.
  2. Cook your pasta according to package directions, in well salted water but no oil.
  3. In the last two minutes of cooking your pasta, add your broccoli to the pot of pasta.
  4. While your pasta is cooking, mix all of your sauce ingredients either by shaking them well in a jar or whisking together. 
  5. BEFORE DRAINING your pasta, scoop out 1 cup of pasta water. Then drain your pasta and broccoli, returning it to the same pot with the stove OFF.
  6. Add ½ cup of the reserved pasta water to your sauce and shake or whisk well.
  7. Pour the sauce over your pasta and add your cup of shredded cheese. Stir vigorously to thicken the sauce, adding more of the pasta water if necessary. If you find your cheese isn’t melting, turn the burner on LOW and continue to stir. Taste and add more salt and pepper if required, then serve. Top with more parmesan cheese if you’d like!


  • Cheese: You can use any good melting cheese like cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, or Monterey Jack. Your choice may require more or less salt in the end.
  • Herbs: here’s where you can get creative. Mixed herbs usually include rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano, and dried basil. Use or skip whatever you like, as long as you total 1 tsp (or a bit more)
    • You can also use dried chives
  • Lemon Juice/Vinegar: This isn’t meant to be a super lemony pasta, but add a subtle tang for depth. If you don’t want lemon, you can use a mild vinegar like white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or even rice wine. If you’re using plain old white vinegar, go very light to begin with! 
    • If you don’t want this at all, just add 1.5 tbsp more oil. 
  • Red pepper flakes: If you have the spice tolerance of a lemming like me you can omit these completely, but I found even a pinch of them adds a nice flavor. 
  • Sugar: absolutely optional, but takes the edge off the sour elements. Omit if using only oil! 

(Adapted from Recipe Tin Eats) 

Share This Blog!

Scroll to Top