This dish brings back so many memories for me since I’ve been making this since high school. This is the ONLY dish my mom requests when I go visit her. You may think its just broccoli in pasta? But trust me you’ll love it! It’s a very simple dish…literally 5 ingredients (I don’t count oil, salt and pepper), but 8 if you want to be technical lol! I posted a healthier version of this before with red lentil pasta, so check that out for a healthier option… but this is the REAL deal.
I would suggest using a really good olive oil for this dish, check the notes section for what I use. It comes together in 15 minutes from start to finish, very easy for meal prep and for lunch options. It is also kid friendly; just add less red chili flakes. Hope you enjoy one of my MOST fave recipe that makes me so nostalgic for the good old days.
Stay happy, stay hungry!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
- 2 cups penne pasta
- 1 cup broccoli, cut into florets
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 20 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano
- 2 tbsp red crushed pepper
- 1 tbsp black pepper, freshly cracked (preferred)
- Salt to taste
- In a large pan boil water; once the water comes to a rolling boil, salt the water HEAVILY. Cook pasta according to the packaged directions. When the pasta has two minutes to cook add in the broccoli.
- In a pan add the olive oil and garlic and heat for a couple of minutes (you just want to heat up the garlic, making sure it doesn’t burn). Add the pasta and broccoli straight to the pan. Let some of the pasta water get in the pan to help make a sauce.
- Add red crushed pepper, black pepper, and salt if needed.
- Turn of the heat and add the cheese and a couple of spoons of the pasta water.
- I use Trader Joe’s olive oil or Lucini (can be found at Costco for a cheaper price)
- Make sure you taste the dish before adding more salt, since the cheese is salty as well as the pasta and broccoli.
- Save a ladle of the pasta water just in case you need to make it looser.