Pasta with Broccoli, Basil, and Pine Nuts


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This is a simple and satisfying recipe that is easy to whip up on weeknights or when you don’t have a fully stocked fridge. I almost always have pasta, pine nuts, and broccoli or broccolini or some other green vegetable on hand to throw into this dish. It’s like a deconstructed pesto sauce without the cheese, though you can add some grated cheese on top if you wish. If you don’t have broccoli or broccolini, then string beans or spinach also work well in this pasta.

Yield: 4 servings


5 cups broccoli florets

12 ounces pasta (rotini or ziti work well)*

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1 cup pine nuts

½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil (or 1 tablespoon of dried basil)

Crushed red chili pepper flakes, optional garnish

Grated cheese, optional garnish


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.
  2. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water. Do not rinse pasta.
  3. Put pine nuts and oil in a large saute pan and heat over medium-low heat.
  4. When pine nuts start to become golden, add garlic and heat for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Before garlic becomes really brown, add broccoli, turn up heat to medium, and cover the pan.
  6. Cook for 3-4 minutes until broccoli is cooked but not mushy.
  7. Season liberally with salt and pepper and mix to combine.
  8. Add pasta to broccoli pan and mix to combine.
  9. Turn off heat and add breadcrumbs and basil, stirring to combine.
  10. Serve with chili flakes and grated vegetarian cheese, if using.

*Note: Feel free to use any pasta you like or use (e.g. bean or lentil pasta, whole-wheat pasta, gluten-free pasta).