Penne with Broccoli

Ok, so by now you know how much I love pasta.  I could go the rest of my life without eating meat again, as long as I have pasta.  And this recipe is one my favorites.  I saw it on the Food Network ages ago and my husband was the first one to make it, and I fell in love.  It’s good hot or cold, but I think I prefer it warm.  I’ve adjusted the recipe depending on what we have and I’ve never been disappointed!  It’s pretty enough to entertain with but easy and quick enough to whip up on a weeknight.  Plus, my girls both love it, so that’s a huge bonus around here.


The original recipe calls for Farfalle (bowtie) pasta and that’s how I usually make it, but like I said, you can substitute ingredients easily once you get the basic recipe down.  It starts with a garlic and red pepper infused olive oil which creates a light sauce, when combined with a little pasta water and blanched broccoli turns into a delicious pesto-type concoction.   Whatever you call it, it’s magical.


The whole dish is done in not much more time than it takes to cook the pasta, and it’s made with ingredients that I pretty much always have on hand.  While fresh broccoli is better, I would assume you could easily use frozen in its place.  Don’t like red pepper?  Omit it.  Don’t like garlic?  Don’t put it in.  Use the spices you like and customize it to be your own.  But at least try it this way first.  It’s a winner.  Charlie Sheen would love it.

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Thanks for stopping by today! Enjoy!


Penne with Broccoli
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This quick and easy meal is full of flavor, a bit of heat and bright and colorful. Kids and adults alike will love this one! Recipe source: The Food Network
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 1 pound box of Farfalle pasta (or substitute your favorite. We used Penne today.)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (I've used garlic powder before, works just as well)
  • ¼ cup good quality olive oil
  • 3 generous Tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds of fresh broccoli, cleaned and chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • ⅔ cup shredded mozzarella cheese or grated Parmesan (according to preference)
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Salt
  1. In a large pasta pot, boil pasta in salted, boiling water until 5 minutes before it's done.
  2. Add the broccoli into your pasta water at the 5 minute mark. (If you're cooking pasta that takes 10 minutes to al dente, add your broccoli after it's been cooking for 5 minutes.)
  3. Once pasta is cooked to your liking, drain pasta and broccoli, saving 1 cup of the pasta water for your sauce.
  4. While your pasta and broccoli are cooking, heat olive oil and butter in a large saute pan.
  5. Once butter is melted, add garlic and red pepper flakes. Take care not to burn the spices - if the pan starts to get too hot, turn it off.
  6. Add the drained pasta and broccoli and the reserved pasta water to the saute pan.
  7. Toss so the sauce covers all of the pasta noodles.
  8. Sprinkle with pepper and salt if desired, and garnish with shredded cheese.
  9. Enjoy!

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