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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  • 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. :-)

  • 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,
    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.

  • 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

  • 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

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

  • 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

  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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! :)

  • 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 :)

  • 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.

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