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Creamy Broccoli Pasta Recipe

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This Creamy Broccoli Pasta Recipe is a simple pasta recipe that is perfect for those busy weeknights. Pasta is mixed with broccoli and walnuts and a creamy sauce. Your family will love this easy pasta recipe with a hint of sweet lemon at the end! 

Creamy Broccoli Pasta Recipe with a light green plate.

CREAMY BROCCOLI PASTA RECIPE

You guys are going to love this creamy pasta. 

Sometimes you just crave a big bowl of creamy, rich pasta. 

I am a big fan of broccoli paired with pasta and today’s Creamy Broccoli Pasta Recipe also uses walnuts which I think works well together. 

I also love having an easy recipe in my back pocket for those busy weeknights when I need to put something quick on the table. 

My kids will eat this Orecchiette pasta recipe that combines sausage and broccoli so I knew they would enjoy today’s broccoli pasta recipe. 

The nice thing with this pasta is you can modify it depending on what is in your fridge. I often will add other vegetables, a different cheese or a different nut to this simple dish. 

This is a pasta recipe that the whole family will love! 

One note- if you want a healthier pasta you can leave out the cream and cream cheese and make this more of an olive oil and lemon based sauce kind of pasta. It tastes great too! 

Creamy Broccoli Pasta Recipe ingredients.

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN CREAMY BROCCOLI PASTA?

PASTA: I like to use a small or medium sized pasta for this pasta dish but any will work great. 

BROCCOLI: I try to use fresh broccoli when possible but you could use frozen if you need to.

I like to cut my broccoli into medium sized broccoli florets but you can cut the broccoli into whatever size you like. If you have kids you might want to cut the broccoli into small sized pieces. 

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: Try to use a good extra virgin olive oil when sautéing the onion and garlic to help bring out the flavor. 

GARLIC: Garlic adds a lot of great flavor to this pasta dish but can be omitted if you want.

Creamy Broccoli Pasta Recipe broccoli in a strainer.

ONIONS: I added onions to this recipe but if you don’t like onions you can leave them out. 

HEAVY CREAM: The cream helps create a creamy sauce. You can use half and half or for a less creamy sauce use any milk you like. I try not to use skim milk because it just makes the sauce watery and not creamy. 

CREAM CHEESE OR GREEK YOGURT: Cream cheese makes the sauce decadent, rich and creamy. If you want to omit it you can and you will still have a creamy sauce with the cream or you can try Greek yogurt. 

PARMESAN CHEESE: The Parmesan cheese helps create the creamy sauce and adds that salty flavor we all love. You can also garnish each bowl of pasta with more Parmesan cheese. 

WALNUTS: The walnuts add texture and crunch to the pasta. You can omit them or try almonds or pine nuts.

LEMON JUICE: Lemon juice is added to the sauce for a touch of zesty sweetness. 

Creamy Broccoli Pasta Recipe with a fork.

HOW DO YOU MAKE BROCCOLI PASTA?

CHOP THE BROCCOLI: Remove the broccoli stem and chop its head into florets.

COOK THE PASTA AND BROCCOLI: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and broccoli and cook until al dente.

When the pasta is done cooking reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and broccoli. Set aside.

SAUTE THE GARLIC AND ONION: In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes.

Creamy Broccoli Pasta Recipe onions and garlic in a pan.

CREATE THE SAUCE: Remove the garlic and onion from heat and add cream cheese, heavy cream, grated parmesan, salt, ground black pepper, chopped walnuts. and lemon juice. Stir to combine.

MIX THE BROCCOLI AND PASTA: Gently fold in the cooked broccoli and cooked pasta. Add the reserved pasta water as need to thin out the pasta sauce {or you can use chicken broth to thin out the sauce}.

Serve warm with extra parmesan, lemon zest and fresh parsley.

Creamy Broccoli Pasta Recipe ingredients in a pot.

WAYS TO MODIFY THIS CREAMY BROCCOLI PASTA RECIPE

ADD NUTS: I like walnuts paired with the broccoli but you can also use other nuts like chopped or sliced almonds or pine nuts.  

ADD BEANS: Beans would be a great addition to this pasta. I especially like white beans or chickpeas. 

CHANGE UP THE CHEESE: Parmesan cheese is  great addition to this pasta. You could also try mozzarella cheese,  feta or goat cheese. 

MIX IN VEGETABLES: Vegetables other than broccoli are a nice way to make this dish healthier. Try peas, carrots or green beans. 

USE GREEK YOGURT: If you want a healthier dish you can use Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese. Make sure if you use Greek yogurt that you whisk the yogurt as you add it to keep it from curdling. 

ADD IN HERBS AND SPICES: Herbs and spices can take this dish to the next level. Some spices that are nice are oregano, Italian seasoning, thyme, basil or crushed red pepper flakes. Fresh herbs like parsley, basil and oregano are great too. 

Creamy Broccoli Pasta Recipe pasta on a plate.

OTHER PASTA RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE: 

CHICKPEA PASTA RECIPE WITH FETA

SPICY SAUSAGE PASTA

CREAMY SUN DRIED TOMATO PASTA RECIPE 

LEMON PASTA

PESTO PASTA WITH GREEN BEANS

ITALIAN SAUSAGE PASTA BAKE

Creamy Broccoli Pasta Recipe with logo.

Creamy Broccoli Pasta Recipe with a light green plate.

Creamy Broccoli Pasta Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This Creamy Broccoli Pasta Recipe is a simple pasta recipe that is perfect for those busy weeknights. Pasta is mixed with broccoli and walnuts and a creamy sauce. Your family will love this easy pasta recipe with a hint of sweet lemon at the end!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of short dry pasta
  • 1 broccoli head, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half {or milk for a less creamy sauce}
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese {you can omit this for less creamy pasta sauce and just use the cream or try Greek yogurt in its place}
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper {optional}
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped {you can omit or use pine nuts or silvered almonds}
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Fresh parsley for garnish
  • Lemon zest for garnish

Instructions

    1. Remove the broccoli stem and chop its head into florets.
    2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
    3. Add the pasta and broccoli and cook until al dente.
    4. When the pasta is done cooking reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and broccoli. Set aside.
    5. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute for 3-4 minutes.
    6. Remove the garlic and onion from heat and add cream cheese, heavy cream, grated parmesan, salt, ground pepper, oregano, basil, crushed red pepper and chopped walnuts. and lemon juice. Stir to combine.
    7. Gently fold in the cooked broccoli and pasta.
    8. Add the reserved pasta water as need to thin out the pasta sauce.
    9. Serve warm with extra parmesan and fresh parsley.

Notes

STORAGE: Keep leftovers covered in the fridge for up to three days.

You can leave out the cream cheese if you want or try Greek yogurt in its place. The cream cheese makes it extra creamy.

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