Pasta

Cavatelli and Broccoli Pasta

August 24, 2019

A simple Cavatelli and Broccoli recipe made with fresh garlic, tender broccoli, a little fresh chilli and of course cavatelli pasta! This quick weeknight meal is ready in only 15 minutes and is both hearty and healthy.

An overhead shot of cavatelli pasta and broccoli in a rustic bowl

This pasta recipe is absolutely perfect for busy weeknights, I mean, it literally ticks all the boxes!

It’s fast, I’m talking 15 minutes, it’s incredibly simple (pretty effortless), it’s healthy and packed with veggies plus it’s SO delicious!

So What is Cavatelli?

Cavatelli is type of eggless semolina pasta that literally translates as “little hollows”.

They kind of resemble little shells and some say hot dog buns (see photo below).

They can come with a smooth surface or with ridges and can be found in larger supermarkets, Italian specialty stores or online.

You also get a type of cavatelli pasta that’s made with egg and ricotta and they’re just divine although rare to find unless fresh, you’d need to make them yourself.

Cavatelli pasta is absolutely delicious and although it’s commonly served with broccoli you can serve it as you would any other short pasta shape.

Other popular choices are with meat ragu, with beans, seafood such as mussels or a simple tomato sauce.

A close up of uncooked cavatelli pasta

About the Cavatelli Pasta Sauce

I’ve always believed that the simplest of recipes have the most incredible flavour and that food doesn’t need to be complicated to taste delicious!

This cavatelli and broccoli recipe is a prime example, it’s just so simple but fresh and packed with flavour.

I use half a fresh red chilli for a little heat but not too much, you can adjust the amount to your preference.

I also add 3 garlic cloves because I love the extra kick and it’s just what this simple recipe needs.

I’ve added in grated zucchini because it adds freshness and finally the added butter and parmesan coat the pasta making it creamy and delicious!

How to Make Cavatelli and Broccoli – Step by Step

First, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (make sure it’s big enough for both the pasta and broccoli).

While the water is coming to a boil, grate one zucchini (courgette) and finely slice fresh garlic and chilli (photo 1 & 2).

Step by step photos for making cavatelli pasta sauce with broccoli

Add the pasta to the water and add the broccoli florets when the pasta only has 5 more minutes to go (5-6 minutes into cooking) (photo 5 & 6).

Meanwhile, add olive oil to a large frying pan and add the garlic, chilli, and oregano (photo 3).

Saute for 1-2 minutes then add the grated zucchini. Continue to saute the zucchini until you’re ready to add the pasta to pan (about 5 minutes).

Step by step photos for making cavatelli and broccoli pasta

Once the pasta and broccoli are al dente add them to the pan with the zucchini and add some butter and freshly grated parmesan (photos 7 & 8).

Turn off the heat and toss the pasta until the butter has melted, check for seasoning then serve.

Cavatelli and Broccoli with Sausage

Although I love this meat-free pasta dish adding sausage is a super popular and delicious addition.

To do this, remove the meat from it’s casing and fry it first before doing anything else.

Drain off any excess fat then add the garlic and chilli and continue with the recipe as normal.

A close up of cavatelli and broccoli pasta in a bowl

Top Tips for Making Cavatelli and Broccoli

  • Add the broccoli florets when the pasta needs only 5 minutes more cooking (5 minutes before the end) so it doesn’t overcook (it should still have a bite to it).
  • Cavatelli pasta usually takes 10-13 minutes to cook.
  • You can easily adjust the amount of chilli you like and you can even use dried red pepper flakes.
  • Add the butter and parmesan to the pasta straight away while it’s still hot when it melts it creates a delicious creaminess.
  • I like to remove the pasta and add it to the pan with a slotted spoon instead of draining it completely because it adds a little pasta water to the sauce and adds extra flavour. If you’d rather drain it then serve a few tbsps of pasta water and add it to the sauce.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days and eaten cold as a pasta salad.

More Easy Pasta Recipes You Might Like;

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5 from 3 votes

Cavatelli and Broccoli

A simple Cavatelli and Broccoli recipe made with fresh garlic, tender broccoli, a little fresh chilli and of course cavatelli pasta! This quick weeknight meal is ready in only 10 minutes and is both hearty and healthy.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 565kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cavatelli pasta (500g)
  • 1 head broccoli cut into small florets
  • 1 zucchini courgette
  • ½ tbsp fresh oregano you can sub fresh parsley
  • ½ fresh red chilli finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp butter (50g)
  • ½ parmesan freshly grated (20g)

Instructions

  • First, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (make sure it's big enough for both the pasta and broccoli).
  • While the water is coming to a boil, grate one zucchini (courgette) and finely slice fresh garlic and chilli).
  • Add the pasta to the water and after it's been boiling for 5 minutes add the broccoli florets .
  • Meanwhile, add olive oil to a large frying pan and add the garlic, chilli, and oregano.
  • Saute for 1-2 minutes then add the grated zucchini. Continue to saute the zucchini until you're ready to add the pasta to pan (about 5 minutes).
  • Once the pasta and broccoli are al dente add them to the pan with the zucchini and add some butter and freshly grated parmesan.
  • Turn off the heat and toss the pasta until the butter has melted, check for seasoning then serve.

Notes

  • Add the broccoli florets when the pasta needs only 5 minutes more cooking (5 minutes before the end) so it doesn't overcook (it should still have a bite to it).
  • Cavatelli pasta usually takes 10-13 minutes to cook.
  • You can easily adjust the amount of chilli you like and you can even use dried red pepper flakes.
  • Add the butter and parmesan to the pasta straight away while it's still hot when it melts it creates a delicious creaminess.
  • I like to remove the pasta and add it to the pan with a slotted spoon instead of draining it completely because it adds a little pasta water to the sauce and adds extra flavour. If you'd rather drain it then serve a few tbsps of pasta water and add it to the sauce.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days and eaten cold as a pasta salad.

Nutrition

Calories: 565kcal | Carbohydrates: 98g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 140mg | Potassium: 888mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1365IU | Vitamin C: 153mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 3mg
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
Did you try this recipe?Mention @insidetherustickitchen or tag #insidetherustickitchen! We'd love you see what you're getting up to in the kitchen!

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Neha
    August 26, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    Broccoli pasta is one of my most favorite ways to have my broccolis. Loving your take on it, simply yum!

  • Reply
    Sapana
    August 26, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    Yum! This is seriously so delicious and I love the tips you added at the end. Cavatelli is definitely one of my favorite weeknight dinner dishes and I absolutely love it with broccoli.5 stars

  • Reply
    Jessica Formicola
    August 26, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    I am loving the fresh ingredients of this pasta! I can’t wait to try it for dinner tonight!5 stars

  • Reply
    Dannii
    August 26, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    I love broccoli pasta for an easy weeknight meal.

  • Reply
    Lauren Vavala | DeliciousLittleBites
    August 26, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    This is such a quick recipe for weeknights! I love the addition of broccoli to the pasta – my kids love it this way!5 stars

  • Leave a Reply

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