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Broccoli Walnut Pasta

There’s something magical that happens when you caramelize certain vegetables. They go from being somewhat plain to taking on the most interesting and delicious flavors and textures. One of my favorite veggies to do this with is broccoli as it takes on such a great flavor when you let it brown in the pan for a bit. This broccoli walnut pasta recipe has this wonderful flavor, enhanced with some of the most classic flavors in Italian cooking.

To start this recipe you’ll need a generous helping of olive oil. To the hot oil add some red pepper flakes (as much or as little as you personally enjoy) and then your walnuts. You can use other types of nuts if you like, such as pecans or pistachios.

Broccoli Walnut Pasta

Once the nuts have been flash-fried scoop them out and add in the broccoli. The trick to getting it seared is to let it sit for a few minutes without stirring it all. You only need to give your pan a good shake right when you first put the broccoli pieces in to make sure they aren’t piled on top of each other. Then just let the hot oil do the rest of the work.

After the first side is done turn them over. When there’s a nice browning happening on all sides add the nuts back to the pan along with some short pasta, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, and basil.

Broccoli Walnut Pasta

For these photos I used campanelle, but any short pasta will work here. A good amount of Pecorino Romano on top completes this medley of flavors. All combined there is a profile that’s not unlike pesto, but with a fresher take.

The basil/cheese/nut combo certainly resembles pesto, but in this mixture it’s much lighter. It’s got some of the same notes, but with a more garden style taste.

Broccoli Walnut Pasta

If you’ve got some broccoli, some nuts, basil, and a lemon you can make this stunning broccoli walnut pasta. You won’t be disappointed with this flavorful and wholesome dish. Plus it feeds a crowd!

Yield(s): Serves 6

20m prep time

16m cook time

440 calories

Rated 5.0 out of 5
Rated by 3 reviewers

Allergens: Nuts, Milk, Gluten, Wheat

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you're making mealtime meaningful.
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  • 12 oz riccioli, fusilli, campanelli, or other short pasta
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 bunch broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano or parmesan, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  1. Prepare pasta to package directions. While pasta is cooking heat oil in large skillet over medium-high. Add walnuts and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove walnuts.
  2. Add broccoli to pan and cook for 2 minutes without stirring. Stir once and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Turn heat off. Add garlic and allow to cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add walnuts, pasta, lemon zest, lemon juice, cheese, and basil leaves to pan. Toss together and add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve with extra olive oil and cheese on top.

Recipe adapted from New York Times Cooking.