Cavatelli and Broccoli

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If you want to enjoy an authentic Italian meal, this homemade cavatelli and broccoli is absolutely a match made in heaven: it’s simple yet satisfying, flavour loaded, and it looks as YUMMY as it tastes!

It’s also economical and packed with super healthy broccoli!

Top view of a white plate full of cavatelli and broccoli served with grated pecorino cheese.

Hands down this is one of my all time favourite pastas ever! Fresh cavatelli with its unique shape and texture, tender broccoli, garlic, this dish is the supreme example of how to turn simple ingredients into a fabulous meal.

The blanched broccoli florets are tossed with fragrant garlic, chili flakes and extra virgin olive to maximise the flavor. Then the chunky cavatelli pasta is cooked, added to the pan, and tossed until well combined and delicious.

Serve with freshly grated pecorino cheese if you don’t keep it vegan, and you’ll be in heaven!

And if you have time, I strongly suggest you to make your own homemade cavatelli (here is the recipe, you’re welcome! : ).

Making fresh cavatelli pasta is easier than you think, it’s super fun to make together, and it only requires 2 basic ingredients. Of course, it’s also absolutely scrumptious and perfect to impress your family and friends.

Either if you use homemade or store-bought cavatelli, I promise this cavatelli and broccoli is luscious, satisfying and packed with the most amazing flavor!

List of the ingredients

Top view of a the ingredients to make cavatelli and broccoli.

How to make cavatelli and broccoli

(Note: this is a quick description with step-by-step photos, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)

  • You can use this simple recipe to make your homemade cavatelli (have a look, making the dough is easier than you think!).
  • Or you can buy cavatelli pasta online or from any Italian food store.
Two images showing how to knead and shape fresh cavatelli on a wooden board.
  • Once you have your cavatelli ready, it’s time for your fresh broccoli!
  • Cut broccoli into small florets, and wash them. I use this handy paring knife, affordable and stays sharp forever.
Top view of a wooden board with broccoli florets.
  • Blanch the broccoli in salted boiling water and scoop them up with a slotted spoon (use the same pot and cooking water to cook the pasta!).
  • Saute’ garlic and chili flakes in olive oil until fragrant.
  • Add broccoli to the skillet, break a few soft florets with the back of a wooden spoon, taste and make sure the flavor pops!
  • Cook cavatelli using the same pot and cooking water used for the broccoli.
  • Drain, add to the skillet and toss until well combined over medium heat.
  • Serve with grated pecorino cheese and extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!

Recipes notes

Cavatelli and broccoli ingredients

Broccoli: choose broccoli with fresh-cut stems. The recipe calls for 2 large HEADS of broccoli – what a great way to hide a ton of superfood broccoli in something that tastes delicious, just like this soup and this quick pasta recipe!

Cavatelli: fresh cavatelli and broccoli make such a delicious combination, but I would say that this recipe works just fine with any type of pasta shapes of you choice.

Garlic: plenty of garlic that adds so much flavor, but it burns super easily, so go easy on the heat and keep an eye on it.

Chili flakes: (aka red pepper flakes) for a nice pop of heat! 

Extra virgin olive oil: it packs so much flavor, absolutely a must for every Italian pasta recipe!

Pecorino cheese: I use pecorino Romano cheese for this broccoli cavatelli recipe, it’s made from sheep’s milk and its taste is stronger and slightly saltier than parmesan cheese. However, although different, parmesan cheese can be used instead of pecorino cheese in this recipe.

Salt & pepper: bland broccoli? No thanks. Make sure you cook the broccoli florets in salted water, and when you toss them with garlic and olive oil in the skillet, taste and add extra salt and pepper if needed.

More pasta recipes loaded with veggies?

You’ve got to the right place! I’ve gathered for you a few of my favorite pasta dishes full of flavor and vegetables:

If you make cavatelli and broccoli recipe, let me know. Leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating. I would love to hear from you guys and get your feedback!

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Cavatelli and Broccoli

If you want to enjoy an authentic Italian meal, this homemade cavatelli and broccoli is absolutely a match made in heaven: it’s simple yet satisfying, flavour loaded, and it looks as amazing as it tastes!
Recipe yields 4 servings.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Homemade cavatelli:1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cavatelli and broccoli
Servings: 4
Calories: 432kcal
Author: Katia



  • 2 large heads of broccoli, cut into small florets (see notes)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes, plus more to serve if you wish
  • fine salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste


  • 1 lb (450 grams) fresh cavatelli (see notes)



  • Bring a large pot salted water to the boil.
  • Prep the broccoli: cut the broccoli into small florets. Cut them in halves or quarters until they all look the same in size. You can use the stems too, just peel them and cut them into small bite-sized pieces. Wash florets and stems.
  • Blanch the broccoli: when the water boils, add the broccoli to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes or until tender but still firm and bright green. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon, set aside and turn the heat off (but reserve pot and cooking water for the Cavatelli pasta).
  • Heat the olive oil: in a large skillet heat the oil, the garlic and the chili flakes. Make sure to sauté gently until fragrant and slightly golden, about 40 seconds (don't burn it).
  • Add broccoli to the skillet: toss broccoli until combined and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Smash part of the broccoli with the back of a spoon (I like when some florets gets mushy, but skip this step if you wish). Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper until the flavor pops and add a touch of the cooking water if you need more moisture.
  • Bring the water to the boil: use the same pot and water you used for the broccoli (make sure the saltiness is fine for the pasta)and cook cavatelli until done. The texture should be soft, chewy but still firm to the bite.
  • Toss to combine and serve: drain the pasta, add it to the broccoli mixture, and toss until well combined. Check again the seasoning, and serve the broccoli pasta with freshly grated pecorino cheese (or parmesan cheese) and an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


Pasta: if you make fresh homemade cavatelli following this recipe you’ll end up with about 1 lb/450 grams of fresh pasta which is enough for 4 servings. However, fresh pasta is heavier than dried pasta, so if you want to use dried pasta instead, keep in mind to use about ½ lb or 220-230 grams, or a bit more if you want 4 larger servings.
Broccoli: although fresh broccoli has the best texture, the recipe works with frozen broccoli too. Add the frozen broccoli florets to the boiling pasta water, turn off the heat, and let sit for 2 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender-crisp, then proceed according to the recipe.
Storage: cavatelli and broccoli is best enjoyed as fresh as possible, but you can keep any pasta leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 day. Reheat pasta in microwave or stir fry in a skillet adding a touch of olive oil, stirring well to combine. 
Nutrition facts: the nutrition values are for one serving and they are based on an online nutrition calculator. It’s an estimate only and it should not be considered as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. Please see my disclosure policies.


Calories: 432kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 245mg | Potassium: 606mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 832IU | Vitamin C: 112mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 5mg

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