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Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Add a veggie kick to a classic Italian sauce or spread with a quick and easy recipe for creamy Broccoli Pesto Pasta, including ways to customize this top-rated dish with different nuts, fresh herbs and more.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 13 mins
Total Time 33 mins
Servings 6 servings


  • 2 cups broccoli florets 
  • 1 pound uncooked pasta, such as rigatoni or penne 
  • 3 Tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves 
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and cook them for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to a blender. 
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water, and set it aside. 
  • Add the nuts to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Toast the nuts, moving them around in the pan, until they are fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  • To the blender, add the nuts, basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, pepper and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Pulse until combined. 
  • With the blender running, stream in the olive oil. Stop the blender and scrape down the sides as needed then continue blending the pesto until it is puréed. (If needed, added 1 additional tablespoon of pasta water at a time to thin the pesto.) Taste and season it with salt and pepper. 
  • Toss together the pasta and pesto, thinning it with additional reserved pasta water 1/4 cup at a time as needed. Serve. 
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