This cavatelli with broccoli is a super easy, incredibly tasty pasta dish that’s also filled with greens. And cheese. The balance between indulgently cheesy and healthily green is perfect for kids and adults alike.

Desperation dinner. Pantry supper. Babysitter special. Call it what you will, this cavatelli with broccoli recipe is a cinch to toss together, costs next to nothing, and can probably be scrounged from ingredients you already have on hand. Perhaps you should just call it supper.–Jenny Latreille

LC Pantry Supper Note

When you just can’t bring yourself to go to the grocery store, this ridiculously quick, easy, and family-friendly cavatelli with broccoli recipe is what you want. Actually, it’s what you need. You can fancy it up a little however you choose, time and patience and ingredients permitting, whether that means dicing up that tomato on the counter and tossing it in at the last minute or taking a moment to chop and sauté some garlic or maybe rip up some fresh basil from the garden.

Cavatelli con broccoletti garnished with Parmesan, on a large white pasta dish with a fork.

Cavatelli with Broccoli ~ Cavatelli Con Broccoletti

5 / 2 votes
Cavatelli with broccoli comes together quickly and makes a satisfying, flavor-packed dinner.
Servings4 to 6 servings
Calories488 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes


  • 1 batch homemade cavatelli or 1 pound (454 g) store-bought cavatelli or similarly shaped pasta such as orecchiette, fusilli, or conchiglie
  • 1 3/4 pounds (8 cups) broccoli separated into small florets
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated Parmesan or sprinkling


  • Cook the pasta and broccoli in large, separate pots of boiling salted water until al dente, about 10 minutes for dried pasta and about 4 minutes for the broccoli. (Alternatively, you can just use a single pot of boiling water, cooking the pasta and the broccoli sequentially using the same water.) Drain and dump both the pasta and broccoli in a large serving bowl, reserving the water for making vegetable soup.
  • Drizzle the pasta and broccoli with oil, season with a pinch salt and plenty of pepper, and toss well. Sprinkle with Parmesan and taste. If necessary, add more salt. Serve immediately.

Adapted From


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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 488 kcalCarbohydrates: 98 gProtein: 20 gFat: 2 gSaturated Fat: 1 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.3 gSodium: 72 mgPotassium: 880 mgFiber: 9 gSugar: 6 gVitamin A: 1236 IUVitamin C: 177 mgCalcium: 117 mgIron: 3 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 The Silver Spoon Kitchen. Photo © 2015 Matt Russell. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This cavatelli with broccoli recipe is my kind of comfort food, any time of year—simple, delicious, uncomplicated, friendly, and easily adaptable to what’s on hand. I made the recipe as written, but other vegetables could easily be substituted or added. I immediately think of asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli rabe, spinach, arugula—all steamable, just like the broccoli. Many herbs and/or spices could be added, individually or in combination, including basil, oregano, pepper flakes, to name just a few. And the shape of the pasta could be almost anything, including the obvious substitution of something easier to find, such as penne or orecchiette. It could be further embellished with a sprinkling of pine nuts, for example. But does it need anything beyond the broccoli, olive oil, salt, pepper, and Parmesan? Nope! It’s plain, simple, and delicious in that simplicity. Because it’s so simple, I was especially careful to choose an excellent quality cheese, which really added to the dish. After generously salting and peppering, the cheese added the final touch. I used store-bought cavatelli. One word of caution: the pasta will need a healthy amount of olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Add all the oil and black pepper it calls for. Be a little careful about the salt because the cheese is salty. You can always salt more after sprinkling on the cheese. And this simple peasant-y dish also seemed amenable to not just the pretty florets, but also the stems, sliced thinly enough that they cooked evenly alongside the prettier florets. This is a keeper no matter how it’s served, left plain and simple or dressed up a bit. Keep it in mind when you’re stumped about what’s for dinner or short on prep time!

I had to make this cavatelli with broccoli recipe soon after I saw it. Simple ingredients made for a quick and easy dinner tonight. I used penne, which I had on hand, and sweet baby broccoli and it was just perfect. I used the pasta water to boil my broccoli and it worked great. I will definitely be making this again—what a delicious and healthy meal. I’ve always wanted to try the cooking technique for the Chivalade sausage recipe on the site and I cooked up a few spicy Italian sausages with a nice sear and then sliced them and added them to my final dish. OK, out went the healthy, but it was divine!

This is such a simple, versatile recipe. And you can add so many different vegetables to it. It was great as is, but next time, I’ll add some garlic, tomatoes, and whatever else I have in the fridge. The pasta cooked for about 11 minutes until al dente. The broccoli cooked for about 4 minutes. I drained them both, drizzled with oil and a lot of salt and pepper, and then added the Parmesan. Nothing to it. Easy, quick and oh so yummy! I took the shortcut and used store-bought penne. I’m sure homemade pasta would have been wonderful, I just didn’t want to take the time.

This was very tasty. Not sure if I would consider it a pantry meal, as this is not something I would normally eat as a meal. But it was a perfectly good side dish. Barely a recipe, it’s a simple and flavorful combination of ingredients that would be a welcome addition to any meal. But then if you take pasta and add olive oil, salt, pepper, and Parmesan and combine it with any vegetable, it will always be delicious in my opinion.

This cavatelli with broccoli recipe is one of those recipes that you can love or hate. The recipe itself is easy and self-explanatory. Overall this is a good recipe, and in a pinch or a hurry, store-bought cavatelli will work. I can’t resist homemade pasta, so I prefer to make it myself. I boiled the pasta in a large pot of salted water, which took about 10 minutes. I cooked the broccoli in a large frying pan, blanching for 5 minutes. For the sauce, however, I took some liberties, sautéing 2 minced garlic cloves with 1/2 cup olive oil, mixing everything together when done, and serving with grated cheese. It was delicious. I’ll be making this again for sure.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Delicious! The farmer’s market had fresh broccoli this week, so I thought this would be a good choice for dinner tonight – simple ingredients and a quick prep. I had forgotten how deeply satisfying this dish can be! I made just one change – I roasted the broccoli with olive oil, salt and pepper, instead of boiling it. Absolutely delicious.

    1. Love that tweak, Janet. I will take roasted over boiled vegetables any day. So glad you liked the recipe!

    2. I have been eating cavatelli and broccoli for almost fifty years. There are many variations but the Chef should not omit garlic in the preparation. Sauté the garlic in olive oil and add to the mix.