quick, simple, nutritious

pasta with broccoli & pinenuts

Too many fingers in too many pies.

I feel like things have been ‘crazy busy’ the last few weeks – not a state I like to be in. Tonight I can’t stay and chat for long. My bed is calling. Just wanted to drop in and share one of my latest favourite weeknight pasta recipes.

Quick, simple and nutritious but more importantly, delicious. Say no more.

pasta with broccoli & pinenuts
serves 4

This is one of those great one bowl week night dinners that takes as long to cook as the time required to boil the water and cook the pasta. Any short pasta will work with this dish. I love casereccia pictured above but orecchiette (little ears) or shells are lovely, as is penne.

The beauty of this dish, apart from the speed to plate, is how the broccoli takes on the lightly creamy, cheesey sauce. I find myself always wishing there was more broccoli and less pasta when I eat it.

The pinenuts provide little flavour bursts with some textural contrast. But if you prefer to have meat with your pasta, you could replace the pinenuts with 150g chopped bacon or speck. Just allow a little longer for it to brown in the pan.

400g (14oz) short pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 handfuls pinenuts
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
2 bunches broccoli, cut into florettes
1/2 cup pouring cream
2 large handfuls grated parmesan cheese
additional parmesan, for serving

Bring a very large saucepan of salted water to the boil.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium low heat. Add pinenuts and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until golden.  Add cream and allow to bubble. Remove from the heat.

Check the cooking time for your pasta on the pack. Set your timer to go off three minutes before the pasta will be done. Cook pasta and when the timer buzzes, pop in the broccoli and continue to cook for the remaining three minutes or until the pasta is al dente and the broccoli bright green and cooked through. Reserve a cup of the cooking water then drain immediately.

Put the frying pan back on a low heat and add pasta and broccoli. Toss to combine then add cheese and toss again until the cheese has melted. If it looks a little dry, add some reserved pasta water until the sauce is too your liking. Taste and season.

Divide between warm pasta bowls and serve immediately with extra cheese passed separately.


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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate May 18, 2009 at 11:18 pm

The Busy Bug has bitten me too, lately. Thanks for this quick recipe. I find that pasta is a great weary-day dinner because it’s a) fast! and b) soothing!

I can’t wait to try this variation. :-)


Katie May 19, 2009 at 6:08 am

Oh this looks fantastic! I NEED quick easy dishes and this will be a must-try!


jules May 19, 2009 at 2:10 pm

hi kate
glad to hear I’m not the only one. hope you enjoy the broccoli

thanks katie


Sara May 20, 2009 at 2:56 am

This looks yumbo Jules! and I’m gonna try it on Joey! Your blog is amazing, and the recipes so alluring and appetizing…great job and keep it up


jules May 20, 2009 at 6:41 am

thanks sara
lovely to hear from you. hope you and joey are well


Patricia Scarpin May 21, 2009 at 6:36 am

I hope you get some rest (it’s cold here now, I’ve been having a bad day and I wish I could go to my bed, too!). :)

This pasta looks delicious – my kind of dish. And what a coincidence, I made a pasta dish with pine nuts, too, last Sunday. Gotta try yours now.


aoife mc May 21, 2009 at 9:36 am

Fab! Perfect for mid-week dinners. Will be bookmarking this one for sure. I *love* pinenuts! Yum yum.


Merry May 21, 2009 at 4:41 pm

New quick dishes are always good. I make a similar one, but without the pine nuts and Parmesan. Also, I usually stir fry the broccoli then add the cream to make the sauce. I must try it your way. I never thought to add the broccoli to the pasta pot


Dianne May 22, 2009 at 3:57 am

I love broccoli. What a great idea to put it together with pine nuts and pasta…Yum!


jules May 22, 2009 at 12:39 pm

much better now patricia thanks

I’m massive pinenut fan too. thanks for dropping by

I’m with you on new quick dishes. love the idea of stir frying the broccoli – lets do a recipe swap ;)

hi dianne
if you love broccoli you’re in good company


Paula May 23, 2009 at 8:35 am

Thanks for the inspiration! I’m making it tonight!


jules May 23, 2009 at 6:06 pm

pleasure paula,
hope you enjoy it


julie May 24, 2009 at 1:58 pm

This is going to be our dinner tonight. Perfect Sunday evening fare.


amateurinthekitchen May 25, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Yummy!!! Love pinenuts!!!


melinda June 5, 2009 at 12:36 pm

This was quick easy and delicious. My children ALMOST ate it, perhaps if I’d pulled it out of a McDonald’s bag first….


maria March 14, 2010 at 8:48 am

pine nuts are just OK, kind of bland and expensive. i would prefer walnuts, more tasty and meaty. skip the parmesan cheese and use pecorino romano. jmo


Susan March 24, 2010 at 7:20 am

I would make this with whole wheat pasta to make it even


A Wilson April 1, 2010 at 6:25 am

This looks and sounds delicious, BUT, the cream is fattening(yes) it is probably one of the best components to satisfy the craving many of us have for thick sauces. Could something else be substituded? Or perhaps olive oil and the cream…just asking.

I didn’t see any nutrition info on this site for this recipe. If you have the statistics, please let me know or at the very least post them at the bottom of the recipe. I think if people knew how much fat they are getting from the cream and are trying to unclog their arteries, they will skip this recipe.

Sorry for the criiticism, but as a heart patient with 4 stents and now a pacemaker before the age of 60, there has to be other ways to prepare this meal so it tastes “sinful” but in fact is safe.



jules April 1, 2010 at 7:17 am

sorry andrea

don’t have any nutritional data. There isn’t a lot of cream here but if it really concerns you just skip the cream and increase the olive oil a little and use a little of the pasta cooking water to stop it being too dry.


Lise April 2, 2010 at 10:10 am

This is the second recipe I’ve tried from Stonesoup, and another winner! I used Barilla Plus farfalle, and I liked how the little bowtie shapes caught the pine nuts. This has a very mellow, smokey flavor. Very nice.


Heather April 12, 2010 at 3:18 pm

My husband and I LOVE this recipe, and I just posted it on my blog, with our own modifications! We are definitely not vegetarian kinda people, so we would have added chicken had it not been during Lent. Since it was during Lent, we added fresh steamed shrimp, and also asparagus because I thought it would taste delish, and it did! :)


Debra Nicholas May 21, 2010 at 10:08 am



Claire April 2, 2012 at 9:34 am

Just tried this dish for dinner tonight over in the U.S. It was so easy and delicious! I just substituted the pouring cream with a little bit of American heavy cream and thinned it out at the end with some pasta water. It was great! Thanks so much for this recipe :)


jules April 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Glad you enjoyed Claire!


Carolyn April 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Just had this for a quick Sunday night dinner and we really loved it! My husband is not a big fan of pinenuts so he thought we could have left that out (I like them!). Next time, I’ll try using a bit of bacon instead of the pinenuts. Adding shrimp also sounds like a great idea.


jules April 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm

thanks for reporting back Carolyn!
Bacon is always a great idea ;)


Gena December 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm

How is this healthy with the cream. Can skim milk or fat free evaporated milk be substituted?


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