A quick and easy broccoli pasta recipe that is not only seriously delicious but relatively healthy too! Fresh broccoli is blanched then cooked with olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and miso paste. Finished with toasty garlic panko crumbs, creamy ricotta and lemon zest. The perfect dish for busy weeknights or anytime you feel like a bowl of absolute deliciousness.
Hi! I am writing up this delicious broccoli pasta because broccoli and pasta really is my ultimate food combo. It's just a great match, I especially love fresh broccoli in a creamy sauce like my creamy bacon pasta where it soaks up all the sauce. This sauce actually comes via a really good friend of mine James, read below! This is a modern riff on a pasta con broccoli sauce and really is perfect for the whole family (you can omit the chilli for kids!).
If you are familiar with my recipes you'll know that it's pretty crazy this pasta sauce has no butter or cream. It just doesn't need it! The broccoli florets are blitzed which creates a luscious sauce with so much flavour from the other ingredients. You might think miso paste is a strange ingredient for a pasta sauce but trust me, it adds so much flavour and gives the dish wonderful seasoning.
This sauce only has a few simple ingredients plus the miso paste which is really easy to find in supermarkets. Full ingredients in the recipe card below.
Fresh broccoli - I used 2 medium heads of broccoli, the florets and some of the stem too.
Olive Oil - Extra virgin olive oil is always my preference but use whatever you have on hand.
Garlic - Fresh garlic cloves are best, I really don't like jarred garlic.
Red pepper flakes - Also known as chilli flakes. I have only used ½ teaspoon as I don't love a really spicy pasta so use more if you like!
Miso Paste - Miso is a fermented soy bean paste used a lot in Japanese cooking. It is SO delicious used in pasta sauces. It's easily found in supermarkets, please don't leave it out.
Chicken broth - Absolutely use vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian.
Ricotta - I have mixed ricotta, parmesan cheese, lemon juice and black pepper for the creamy topping. Either pipe some dollops on with a piping bag (or snaplock with corner cut off) or just use a teaspoon.
Panko breadcrumbs - Toasted breadcrumbs are my favourite pasta topping and combined with the ricotta, it's perfection.
What pasta shape is best?
I have used my homemade orecchiette pasta not only because it is my favourite shape but I think this sauce suits a short pasta shape. If you feel like making something else from scratch, my hand rolled gnocchi sardi is such an easy shape for beginners! Use anything you like though, fresh or dried. Cook according to the package directions but because I love an al dente pasta I always undercook dry pasta by a minute so it can bubble away in the sauce for a minute or so too.
How to cook broccoli pasta
The full broccoli recipe with instructions are in recipe card below
- Firstly you will get a large pot of water boiling and blanche the broccoli. DON'T drain the broccoli though, remove with a spider strainer as the pasta will cook in the same liquid.
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven heat the olive oil and the garlic over a medium heat then add the chilli flakes (red pepper flakes) and sizzle together.
- Add the white miso paste then add the cooked broccoli and mix well.
- Add the broth, cover and cook for 5 - 6 minutes until brocc is soft.
- Cook your pasta according to package instructions but I generally undercook by a minute so it can bubble in the sauce.
- Blitz ½ - ¾ of the broccoli mixture and mash the remaining to keep some texture.
- Mix it all back together in the pan and add the cooked pasta with a splash of starchy pasta cooking water.
This is a really simple dish so it's nice to finish it with some delicious toppings. Serve the pasta with the toasted panko breadcrumbs, dollops of the ricotta, extra grated parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. If you like spice and extra pinch of red pepper flakes adds a nice pop of colour. The toppings are almost the best part!
The inspiration for this dish
I am not taking any credit for this recipe, it is the work of one of my amazing friends James Dobson, aka the fashion designer Jimmy D. As well as designing insanely beautiful clothes he is also a fantastic cook. It's come from years of tinkering with the recipe to get it perfect and he is letting me share it with you! This is what he says:
"You know when your partner goes away or is going to be late home, and you're excited about having the house to yourself? Pouring a glass of wine, blasting Sade and cooking some kind of soul-repairing dinner, well this is it. It feels vaguely healthy, 'cos broccoli right? But it's hearty, warming and goes perfectly with a big helping of Love Island or the Real Housewives. And more wine."
Some substitution ideas
From James - "I've specified a scoop/smear of ricotta on the side here 'cos I love the melty cruciferous vibe balanced out with a hefty lactic tang, but feta is a good alternative crumbled over the top. It's also amazing without either if you are feeling virtuous. I've also made just the broccoli ragu and used it as a pizza topping.
Another thing I sometimes do is start the ragu by cooking off a pork and fennel sausage in the oil, removing it once fully cooked and putting it aside to add at the end. The broccoli cooked in the porky oil is a pretty divine way to start the sauce."
I love to keep this recipe vegetarian but you could add some cooked chicken breast or thighs to the finished dish. Some crisp bacon or pancetta mixed through would also work.
Definitely! It's such a great way to get some greens in. The panko crumbs and ricotta push it to a slightly more indulgent place so feel free to skip those elements.
This sauce, unlike lots of pasta, reheats quite well. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
Want some other pasta dishes to try?
I have all sorts of delicious recipes and pasta tutorials for you to get stuck into. I do highly recommend making some orecchiette, you cannot beat the homemade texture! For another healthy (ish!) greens focused pasta then make my Delicious Spinach Pasta Sauce, it also has a crunchy garlic topping. For something a little more luscious then my Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Olives is a favourite.
Made this recipe and loved it?
I would love love LOVE if you could leave me a review down below and let me know what you thought! I love to hear any changes or adaptions you have made too. Also if you put a photo on instagram, please tag me so I can see, it makes my day!Print