Creamy Broccoli Pasta

This recipe for creamy broccoli pasta is a keeper! A scrumptious cheesy sauce that coats heavenly penne rigate pasta.

Made in a single pan, this delicious pasta will be one of your favourites to make for any weekday dinner. And is made in about 15 minutes!

Creamy broccoli pasta closeup.

What is Penne Rigate Pasta?

Penne Rigate is a popular italian pasta shape that gets it name because when they were created, back in the nineteenth century in Genoa, they seemed to imitate the nibs of fountain pens.

In Italy, this kind of pasta, made with a cylinder-shape, has also other variants like penne lisce (with smooth surface), mezze penne (half sized penne) and even pennettine (little pens).

Traditional Penne are made with a smooth surface, while Penne Rigate have a ridged texture, making them perfect to hold any kind of sauce. From simple and smooth sauces like Penne al Pomodoro to more elaborated or sofisticated condiments like bolognese or other meat based preparations.

Penne Rigate pasta uncooked.

Penne with Broccoli & Cheese

There are many ways of preparing Penne with broccoli sauce, some may include cream while other will make the creamy sauce using flour or other ingredients to thick the sauce.

I like to make Penne Rigate with Broccoli and Cheese using some cream and some acqua di cottura (cooking water), it makes the sauce thicker without the need of adding so much cream and the taste is simple delicious.

A plate with penne rigate pasta coated with creamy broccoli sauce.

Ingredients you need

PENNE – You can also use other types of pasta, but penne rigate are just perfect to go with this sauce and definitely worths to try at least once. I have used sometimes mezze penne or even pennettine, if you find them where you live use any of those too!

BROCCOLI – I used regular broccoli (in Italy is called cavolo broccolo o broccolo siciliano). When I can’t find that type I just use broccolo romanesco, which happens to be ver popular in my zone.

CREAM – Used whole cream, feel free to use half cream. Cream will give that amazing texture to the pasta sauce but you actually don’t need to add that much, I have made this pasta even with ¼ cup cream, the cooking water will do the rest.

BUTTER – Butter adds creaminess and flavour, but if you’re have concerns about calories intake, feel free to leave it out or to replace it with your favourite oil.

CHEESE – I used Fontina cheese because I love the flavour and how the cheese really melts very well into the sauce, without clogging like other string cheese does.

PARMIGIANO – Used freshly grated parmigiano, but sometimes (specially if I am in a hurry) I also use store-bought parmesan or Pecorino romano.

OIL – I used extra virgin olive oil, just a little bit to help the butter heat without burning, you can replace it with any oil you prefer.

Ingredients for pasta displayed on a concrete surface.

STOCK – Because I prefer to cook the broccoli directly in the pan without having to do so using another pot, it is necessary to use some liquid. So I chose chicken stock but it can also be done with vegetable or beef stock if you want.

GARLIC – I used powdered garlic. If you prefer to use chopped fresh garlic I suggest to sauté it first in oil then add the broccoli as shown in the video.

MUSTARD – This is a star in the recipe! The Dijon mustard just adds a nice tangy flavour that goes perfectly with broccoli and cream. You can replace it with regular mustard if you want.

SALT AND PEPPER – To taste, just pay attention because the cheese and stock already have salt, so don’t add to much and adjust always at the end of the cooking.

How To Make Creamy Broccoli Pasta

Place a large pot with water over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions.

While the pasta is cooking cut the broccoli in half then chop it into small florets.

In a large sauté pan heat the oil over medium heat, add the butter and as soon as it melts, add the broccoli florets.

Left image: Broccoli cut into florets on a cut board. 
Right image: Broccoli being added to the pan.

Add the garlic, salt and pepper, then pour one cup of chicken stock. Mix well and cook until broccoli will be al dente (about 4 minutes), adding the remaining stock little by little.

Broccoli cooked al dente on a pan.

Make sure there’s still some liquid, then add the cream and mustard. Mix well and cook for one minute.

Turn off the heat, then add Penne Rigate pasta, Fontina cheese and parmigiano.

Left image: Creamy broccoli sauce boiling on a pan. Right image: Pasta added and on top added cheese before mixing.

Pour over half cup of cooking water and mix vigorously until the cheese is melted and you achieve a nice creamy sauce texture.

Penne rigate being tossed with broccoli creamy sauce on a pan.

Serve immediately with more parmigiano cheese sprinkled on top.

More italian pasta recipes

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Penne Rigate with Broccoli and Cheese sauce

This recipe for Penne Rigate with Broccoli and Cheese sauce is a keeper! A scrumptious creamy broccoli sauce that coats heavenly the pasta. And is made in only 20 minutes!
PREP 10 minutes
COOK 10 minutes
TOTAL 20 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1.1 lb broccoli
  • 12 oz penne rigate pasta
  • ½ cup whole cream
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup Fontina cheese (shredded)
  • ½ cup parmigiano cheese (grated )
  • 1 ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  • Place a large pot with water over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
  • While the pasta is cooking cut the broccoli in half then chop it into small florets.
  • In a large sauté pan heat the oil over medium heat, add the butter and as soon as it melts, add the broccoli florets.
  • Add the garlic, salt and pepper, then pour one cup of chicken stock. Mix well and cook until broccoli will be al dente (about 4 minutes), adding the remaining stock little by little.
  • Make sure there’s still some liquid, then add the cream and mustard. Mix well and cook for one minute.
  • Turn off the heat, then add Penne Rigate pasta, Fontina cheese and parmigiano.
  • Pour over half cup of cooking water and mix vigorously until the cheese is melted and you achieve a nice creamy sauce texture.
  • Serve immediately with more parmigiano cheese sprinkled on top.
Nutrition
Calories: 745kcal | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 666mg | Potassium: 778mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1730IU | Vitamin C: 112mg | Calcium: 343mg | Iron: 3mg
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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    So delicious, I didn’t have penne rigate but used bow pasta instead. It was utterly delicious and there’s not lots of cream in the recipe, love it!

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