Pasta con Broccoli is an easy one pot Italian dish. Pasta shells are tossed in a rich tomato cream sauce with tender broccoli and mushrooms. This meal is on the table in under 30 minutes! It’s an incredibly popular dish at St. Louis restaurants like 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 come together in a single pot. It’s the perfect weeknight dinner requiring minimal prep, cook time, and a single dish to clean.

It’s also 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.

Ingredients

  • Pasta – Shells, or any pasta with ridges, help capture the thick sauce. I like medium shells to capture mushrooms and broccoli in every bite of my pasta con broccoli.
  • Butter – Salted or unsalted, your preference. Simply adjust additional salt at the end of this dish.
  • 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 for a shortcut, but you can use fresh if you have it on hand.
  • Mushrooms – This recipe is the easiest way to sneak veggies in! The mushrooms are coated in cream sauce, who can resist that?
  • Broccoli – 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.

Variations

As with any dish, you can adjust pasta con broccoli to your preference.

  • 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.
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Tips from my Test Kitchen

  • Don’t overcook. Strain pasta before it is done (it continues to cook when you add the other ingredients) and watch broccoli carefully so it doesn’t become mushy.
  • Use fresh broccoli (vs frozen) to keep moisture to a minimum.
A white plate of pasta con broccoli.

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.
pasta con broccoli in white pasta dish with gold fork
5 from 33 votes
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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 4 cloves
  • teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup broccoli fresh, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms fresh, sliced
  • ¾ cup parmesan cheese fresh grated
  • salt and 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.
    16 ounces pasta
    A stainless steel pan on a stove top with pasta shells.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and add butter, half and half, tomato sauce, minced garlic, red pepper, broccoli, and mushrooms.
    ¼ cup butter, 1½ cups half and half, ⅓ cup tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1 cup broccoli, 1 cup fresh mushrooms
    A stainless steel pan on a stove top with pasta shells and other ingredients to make pasta con broccoli.
  • Boil until noodles and vegetables are tender and sauce thickens – about 4 minutes.
    ¾ cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper
    A stainless steel pan on a stove top with pasta shells and other ingredients to make pasta con broccoli.
  • Remove from heat and toss with parmesan. Salt and pepper to taste.
    stirring parmesan into pasta con broccoli

Julie’s Tips

  • Don’t overcook pasta. Strain as soon as it’s cooked 3/4 of the way done (it continues to cook with the other ingredients), and watch broccoli carefully so it doesn’t become mushy.
  • Use fresh broccoli (vs frozen) to keep moisture to a minimum.

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.

Variations

  • 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.

    Storage Notes

    Store in an airtight container, refrigerated up to 3 days. Or, freeze in an airtight container up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat to serve.

    How to Reheat

      1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
      2. Add pasta to an oven safe dish. Drizzle with leftover sauce or heavy cream, half and half or more tomato sauce.
      1. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes or until completely heated through. Serve with fresh grated parmesan and cracked pepper.
    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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    5 from 33 votes (13 ratings without comment)

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    28 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      This is everything a gourmet recipe should be, and then some! This looks amazing; can’t wait to give this a try!