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This One Pot Creamy Broccoli Pasta makes a comforting, satisfying, and delicious meal! Made in less than 20 minutes and is perfect for busy nights or when you want a satisfying cheesy and creamy pasta dish.
Creamy Broccoli Pasta
I love one pot meals because they require very little effort and is perfect for any busy weeknight. This Creamy Broccoli Pasta comes together in minutes, is made with minimal ingredients, and couldn’t be easier to make.
Instead of boiling the pasta in traditional pasta cooking water, he pasta is cooked in a seasoned broth and milk that gets absorbed making the pasta extra flavorful. We then add bite sized broccoli pieces and lots of gooey cheese. This easy dinner is also a great way for kids to eat their veggies since it tastes so good.
The whole family will love this comforting easy meal and it’s a great recipe to add to your dinner rotation. Be sure to try my One Pot Lemon Ricotta Pasta that’s just as satisfying and easy to make!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- One-Pot: You only need one pot to make this pasta dish, that’s it! It’s almost too easy to make and it only takes less than 20 minutes to make from start to finish.
- Easy weeknight dinners: You can whip up this pasta dish any night of the week, even on busy days. It’s so easy to make and requires minimal effort, and simple ingredients.
- Easily double recipe: If you want to make this pasta for a crowd, simply double the recipe. Just be sure to use a big enough pot!
- Kid’s will love it: My toddler loved this so I know your kids or any picky eaters will too! The tender broccoli pieces are smothered in the cheesy sauce so they will love the flavor of the broccoli.
- Pasta: I love using a pasta with the whole in the middle like rigatoni so the cheesy sauce sticks and can get in the middle.
- Garlic: We add 2 cloves of garlic to add a fragrant garlicky flavor.
- Chicken broth: Helps flavor the cheese sauce and pasta. You can use regular or low-sodium chicken broth.
- Milk: Whole milk or low-fat milk.
- Seasonings: Onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper.
- Broccoli florets: Fresh broccoli is best but frozen broccoli can also be used. Just be sure to drain as much water out of the broccoli as possible before adding it in.
- Sharp cheddar cheese: It’s always best to shred your own cheese so the cheese is extra melty and gooey in the sauce. Other cheeses that could be used is Monterey Jack, Mozzarella cheese, Colby, and provolone cheese.
- Parmesan cheese: Grated or shredded parmesan can be used. The saltiness from the cheese will add flavor to the pasta.
How To Make Creamy Broccoli Pasta
Melt butter: Add butter to a large pot at medium-high heat and melt. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Cook pasta in seasoned broth: Add broth, milk, and seasonings. Bring to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to package instructions, or al dente.
Add broccoli and cheeses: Add the broccoli in the last 5 minute of the pastas cooking time. Once pasta is cooking and broccoli is tender, remove from heat and add in cheeses. Stir until combined and taste for salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!
Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta
Chicken always pairs so well with pasta and it’s easy to add. Make this meal complete by adding grilled chicken, shredded chicken, or rotisserie chicken to the cooked pasta. The chicken will add protein and make this meal extra hearty and wholesome.
- Protein: Add your favorite protein! Grilled chicken, shredded chicken or shrimp make great options.
- Add more veggies: If you want to add even more veggies cherry tomatoes, fresh spinach, or steamed or roasted bell peppers, zucchini, artichoke hearts, kale, carrots, and peas make great options.
- Healthier alternative: There’s a few ways to make this pasta on the healthier side. Use low-fat milk instead of whole-milk milk, use whole wheat pasta, swap the butter for olive oil, and cut back on the cheese. Nutritional yeast is a great add in too!
- Gluten-free: Make this a gluten-free pasta dish by using gluten-free pasta.
- Broth: Bone broth, vegetable broth, beef broth, or chicken stock can all be used instead of chicken broth.
- Lemon flavor: Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and lemon zest for a fresh and zesty lemon flavor.
What’s The Best Type of Pasta to Use?
It’s best if the pasta shape has a hole, is curly, or has an indent so the creamy cheesy sauce can stick to the pasta better creating a better flavor in each bite. Just about any regular pasta will work but if you want more sauce in each bite I recommend using one of the following:
- Bow tie pasta
- Cheesy: If you want your pasta to be extra cheesy, add a cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Al dente pasta: It’s always best to cook pasta when it’s al dente meaning tender but slightly firm. This way the pasta will be able to hold the noodle shape and won’t be too soggy or chewy.
- Extra creamy sauce: If you want the sauce to be extra creamy, use half and half or heavy cream to make a cream sauce instead of milk. You could also add a few tablespoons of cream cheese to the pasta.
- Add spice: Add red pepper flakes or chili flakes, or black pepper.
- Shred your own cheese: This is a must! Pre-shredded cheese will NOT melt the same way as freshly grated or shredded cheese because store bought pre-shredded cheese has an anti-caking agent that prevents the cheese from sticking together when packaged. This will make your cheese sauce gritty and the cheese sauce won’t be smooth.
Leftovers & Storage
To-store: Store any leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It tastes even better the next day hot or cold! Reheat in a frying pan, microwave or oven until warm.
To-freeze: Make the recipe as directed then place in an airtight container or heavy duty ziplock bag. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, place baking dish in the refrigerator overnight or leave out on the counter for a few hours. Warm in a large pot or microwave. Add a pat of butter to moisten the pasta while warming.
Other Pasta Recipes
- Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells
- Pasta and Mini Meatballs
- Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Chicken Alfredo
- Baked Gnocchi
- One Pot Pasta with Ricotta and Lemon
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Creamy Broccoli Pasta
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups milk whole or low-fat
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3-4 cups broccoli florets cut into bite size pieces
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese
- Add butter to a large pot and melt. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add broth, milk, and seasonings. Bring to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to package instructions, or al dente.
- Add the broccoli in the last 5 minute of the pastas cooking time. Once pasta is cooking and broccoli is tender, remove from heat and add in cheeses. Stir until combined and taste for salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!