Pasta con Broccoli is an easy one pot Italian dish. Shells are tossed in a rich tomato cream sauce with tender broccoli and mushrooms. It’s made start to finish in less than 20 minutes!

Growing up in St. Louis, Pasta con Broccoli has always been a family favorite. It’s an incredibly popular dish at St. Louis staples, Zia’s, Cunetto’s, Pasta House and Rich and Charlie’s.

A white plate of pasta con broccoli.
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Pasta con Broccoli is not only quick and easy to make, but to clean up, too! It’s a one-pot pasta! All the ingredients for an incredible, well-rounded dish in a single pot. It’s the perfect weeknight dinner requiring minimal prep, cook time, and a single dish to clean.

It’s the easiest way to sneak in veggies. The rich tomato cream sauce covers the mushrooms while the shells envelope the broccoli!

A white plate of pasta con broccoli.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • So Easy to Make – This meal is on the table in under 30 minutes!
  • Minimal Ingredients – With a few fresh additions, this is a delicious meal that doesn’t require a long list of ingredients!
  • Wholesome and Nutritious – This is a family friendly dinner that you can feel good about serving.
A white plate of pasta con broccoli.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Pasta – Shells, or any pasta with ridges, help capture the thick sauce. Medium shells to capture mushrooms and broccoli in every bite.
  • Butter – Salted or unsalted, your preference.
  • Half and Half – This results in a light cream sauce, however, if you prefer a richer cream sauce, you can substitute with heavy cream.
  • Pepper – both red pepper and black pepper add flavor to this easy recipe. I like to use my pepper grinder set for thick flakes for maximum texture and flavor.
  • Garlic – I use a bottle of minced garlic here but you can use fresh if you have it on hand. You can find jars of it in the produce section of your grocery store.
  • Mushrooms – This recipe is the easiest way to sneak veggies in! The mushrooms are coated in cream sauce, who can resist that?
  • Broccoli – The broccoli is so tender it becomes one with the noodle and often gets trapped inside with delicious sauce. Use fresh broccoli for the best flavor and texture.
  • Parmesan – Fresh grated Parmesan is always best for your pasta recipes – learn how to grate cheese here!
A white plate of pasta con broccoli.

How to Make Pasta Con Broccoli

  1. Prepare Pasta – Boil noodles in salty water until ¾ cooked. Strain and return to pot. A stainless steel pan on a stove top with pasta shells.
  2. Prepare Sauce – Add broccoli, mushrooms, butter, half and half, tomato sauce, garlic, red pepper and stir occasionally. When sauce becomes thick, noodles are fully cooked and vegetables are tender (about 4 minutes), remove from heat. A stainless steel pan on a stove top with pasta shells and other ingredients to make pasta con broccoli. A stainless steel pan on a stove top with pasta shells and other ingredients to make pasta con broccoli.
  3. Garnish – Toss with parmesan and season with pepper to taste.

Variations

As with any dish, you can tweak to your preference. The options are endless! These are a few of my favorite ideas to tweak this delicious dish!

  • Add More Vegetables – Cauliflower, sweet onions, asparagus and zucchini all pair well with this tomato cream sauce.
  • Add Protein – Juicy baked chicken breast, cooked Italian sausage, bacon, or guanicale.
  • Substitute with Rice or Gnocchi – In lieu of egg noodle, substitute rice or gnocchi.
A white plate of pasta con broccoli.

Tips

  • Don’t overcook. Strain pasta before it is done and watch broccoli carefully so it doesn’t become mushy.
  • Use fresh broccoli to keep moisture to a minimum.

Make More (or Less!)

Scaling up, down or substituting? You’ll love this printable Measurement Conversion Chart!

A white plate of pasta con broccoli.

How to Store

  • Refrigerate – Store in an airtight container up to three days. Add a touch of heavy cream or half and half to warm on stovetop, in the oven or microwave.
  • Freeze – Freeze in an airtight container up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat to serve.

To Reheat

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add pasta to an oven safe dish. Drizzle with leftover sauce, heavy cream, half and half or tomato sauce.
  3. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes or until completely heated through. Serve with fresh grated parmesan and cracked pepper.
A white plate of pasta con broccoli.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you cut broccoli for pasta?

Cut into tiny florets, the same size or smaller than the noodle you are using. Slice large florets in half removing the stem.

Can you boil pasta and vegetables together?

Yes, you can! For best results, add your chopped veggies into the boiling pasta water about five minutes before it’s done.

Serving Suggestions

One of the other things I love about this one-pot Pasta Con Broccoli is that you don’t need a side dish because it’s packed with wholesome veggies. However, you can serve it with a variety of sides if you’d like!

A white plate of pasta con broccoli.

More Sauce + Pasta

pasta con broccoli in white pasta dish with gold fork
5 from 33 votes

Pasta Con Broccoli

Pasta con Broccoli is an incredible Italian dish with broccoli and mushrooms in a tomato cream sauce. This one pot dinner is made from start to finish in less than 20 minutes!
Prep: 3 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 23 minutes
Servings: 6
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Ingredients  

  • 16 ounces pasta (shells or whatever your favorite is)
  • ¼ cup butter salted
  • cups half and half (12 ounces)
  • cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup broccoli (fresh, chopped)
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms (fresh, sliced)
  • ¾ cup parmesan cheese fresh grated
  • pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil.
  • Add pasta. Prepare until ¾ done (the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce) and strain. Return pasta to pot.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and add butter, half and half, tomato sauce, minced garlic, red pepper, broccoli, and mushrooms. Boil until noodles and vegetables are tender and sauce thickens – about 4 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and toss with parmesan. Salt and pepper to taste.

Julie’s Tips

Substitutions

  • Half and Half – This results in a light cream sauce, however, if you prefer a richer cream sauce, you can substitute with heavy cream.
  • Garlic – I use minced garlic. Substitute with 4 garlic cloves, crushed.

    To Store

    • Refrigerate – Store in an airtight container up to 3 days. Add a touch of heavy cream or half and half to warm on stovetop, in the oven or microwave.
    • Freeze – Freeze in an airtight container up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat to serve.
    Calories: 490kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 374mg | Potassium: 403mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 700IU | Vitamin C: 15.8mg | Calcium: 241mg | Iron: 1.5mg

    Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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    Originally posted May 2014

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    28 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      Such an easy and tasty recipe! My kids don’t like mushrooms, so I left those out and added a little extra broccoli. It was still delicious!

    2. 5 stars
      This was so easy and delicious! I will be making this again for my niece’s graduation party this weekend; yum!