Broccoli pesto pasta

Broccoli pesto pasta

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(39 ratings)

Prep: 5 mins Cook: 15 mins


Serves 4
A new delicious version of the Italian favourite, pesto pasta, with broccoli

Nutrition and extra info

  • Healthy
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal604
  • fat26g
  • saturates4g
  • carbs79g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre5g
  • protein19g
  • salt0.47g
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  • 400g penne, farfalle or conchiglie pasta
  • 250g broccoli, cut into florets



    Like cabbage and cauliflower, broccoli is a brassica and is sometimes known by its Italian name…

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 large lemon



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes



    Part of the capsicum family, chillies come in scores of varieties and colours (from green…

  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…


  1. Tip the pasta into a large pan of boiling salted water and cook according to pack instructions. Meanwhile, bring a smaller pan of salted water to the boil, add the broccoli and boil for 4 minutes.

  2. Drain the broccoli and return it to the pan. Lightly mash the broccoli with a potato masher or fork. Finely grate the garlic and zest the lemon, then mix into the broccoli with the chilli flakes and pine nuts. Cut the lemon in half and keep for later.

  3. Drain the pasta and return it to the pan. Stir in the broccoli pesto and squeeze over the juice of 1⁄2 lemon. Pour in the olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper. Spoon in the grated Parmesan, toss the pasta well and serve.

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Comments (36)

Karen Beech's picture

My kitchen is currently being re-done and I have a tiny makeshift kitchen in my lounge at the moment so was searching for recipes that were relatively easy and didn't use a million pans. I love strong flavours and particularly pesto and this recipe gave me an idea. I cooked the broccoli in the microwave and mashed it, added the lemon rind and juice, 1 tsp of chilli flakes (I like spice) and 1 garlic clove and then mixed in two tubs of Tesco finest pesto (in their fridge section) and a little bit more extra virgin oil to lose it up and - voila! The best pesto pasta I've ever had! Love it with the broccoli, it really works. Great if you have fussy children who don't eat much veg - it's totally disguised in the pesto. Would definitely do it again, and when I have my new kitchen I will make fried spinach and parmesan balls to go with it too!

Nichog78's picture

Love this recipe, so tasty and easy to make. A staple in our house now!

aleadbet's picture

I was looking for a recipe to use up some of the veg in the fridge and found this recipe (I'm really determined not to waste as much food this year by letting it go bad in the fridge!). It was pretty good, however I agree with some of the other commenters - don't skip the lemon juice and zest - I was concerned it might overpower things, but it really made it, and make sure to season it well - can't emphasize that enough! I think maybe I should have toasted the nuts (I didn't have pine nuts, so I used almonds) and cooked the broccoli for a little bit longer, I didn't quite get the "pesto" consistency - and I totally forgot about the chili flakes, so I'll have to remember that for next time. Someone mentioned adding bacon or pancetta - genius! - I will definitely try this next time. It definitely needed more parmesan cheese, however, I think I might try swapping out the parmesan for chevre. I imagine that the chevre would go really well with the broccoli, garlic and lemon flavours.
It wasn't the best thing I've made from Good Food, but I love broccoli and it's such a good way to get some extra veg in, and so quick and easy that it's worth trying again with a few tweeks.

SueChef1's picture

You did change the recipe quite a bit - is that why you only gave it 3*? Do give the original a go - it really is tasty!! Thanks for all the comments, though!

redtortoise182's picture

Amazing, easy, tasty, I omitted chilli flakes for the kids and had to use bit of cheddar instead of Parmesan but it was delightful!

JoeBloggs1's picture

Delicious, one of the tastiest things I've made from here. Other than the chilli flakes (I used a few drops of sriracha) I followed the recipe.

Definitely don't forget the lemon juice & zest, it makes it. No need to add in basil pesto, it's great without, I had some opened in the fridge, but didn't need it. I boiled the florets and upper stalks together, the florets mash down easily to give a pesto consistency, while the stalks give it some texture. I wasn't too careful about amounts of olive oil, I drizzled a good amount of extra virgin in. Not sure I understand the person saying parmesan was too strong, and swapping it for cheddar, but if you don't want parmesan for whatever reason, I'd leave cheese out.

Absolutely delicious, will definitely be cooking this one again!

rhapsodyinc's picture

Not bad for a cheep mid-week dinner. I added some basil pesto at a grating of parmesan to liven things up.

sophiechicken's picture

lovely recipe. i used less lemon than was recommended and added a good tbsp of pesto.

Petri's picture

A great recipe! I was going to make the traditional broccoli pasta with breadcrumbs, but I didn’t have any and no dry bread either. (I hate the powdered stuff they sell so I make my own from home-made sourdough bread.)

I modified the recipe a bit: I boiled the stems and steamed the florets al dente. Smoothed the stems with oil, lemon zest & juice and blackpepper and mixed that to gnocchi. Chopped the florets with scissors and tossed the pasta, florets, toasted pine nuts and Pecorino. Lovely!

kasiafronck's picture

This a regular in our house; cheap, quick and simple, I usually add some fried bacon bits to it as well.

freshcream's picture

neither of my kids like broccoli so i always struggle with what to make. And yet they wolfed this dish down with gusto and requested it again, so I've made it twice this week! Its simple, quick, and delicious, but a word of warning here - when a recipe is simple you HAVE to use high-quality fresh ingredients because they make the taste really stand out proud. I used fresh spaghetti from Waitrose's chilled cabinet, as well as their fresh green pesto sauce in the same cabinet. I omitted the parmesan, threw all the ingredients in a pot and gave a good stir before adding the pasta. I finished it off with the lemon zest and lemon juice, all fresh. The lemon really makes this dish, so dont skip. Now I know how to use up broccoli easy peasy.

SarahSlurps's picture

I'm learning to cook, and this was easy for me and really really yum. The fam were impressed. :)

jenny101uk's picture

Fresh, summery and very tasty, a different take on the shop bought jars of pesto I usually use. Perfect vegetarian recipe and very easy and quick to prepare and cook.

katyb75's picture

Lovely. I served with some roasted courgettes mixed in and feta crumbled over.

staceyb85's picture

This is so simple and delicious, it's good if you always have a jar of pesto that needs using up too, I just cook the brocolli and mash it together with a few spoons of pesto. Stir into the penne and serve with the Pine Nuts and a few slices of garlic bread, easy!

mich_mkp's picture

Really nice, easy, cheap, tasty supper. I didn't fancy the chilli, so I left that out, and as the supermarket had sold out of pine nuts I left them out too, but it was really nice. I'll definitely be doing this one again. Ooh, and it's easy to throw together for one person too.

MealyMum's picture

I blitzed broccoli with a hand blender to a traditional pesto consistency and my usually picky 18 month twins are both stuffing this down like no tomorrow. I am also having to resist licking the pan till they are done! Can imagine you could easily use the basic pesto sauce and add meat or other veg. I did add in a bit of traditional pesto too, as per previous suggestions. think it will be an addition to the repertoire.

jollyyummy's picture

Exactly what I am looking for! Can't wait to try with the pesto sauce I bought. Easy dish to try out.

vixsg10's picture

This is yummy! Perfect for this hot Easter bank holiday evening! I used 2 garlic cloves, toasted the pine nuts and used chilli oil on top and it was very tasty! It was a hit with my fiancé and I will definitely be cooking it again!

ade_in_the_kitchen's picture

This is delicious.

I did add chestnut mushrooms and cubed pancetta and this really made for a really tasty meal. Quick and simple to prepare.


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