Go Back
+ servings

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce - is a really easy pasta dish and and so delicious! This is total Italian comfort food. This easy pasta recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes! A no-fuss dinner that is vegan, flavorful, and family friendly.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time22 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: dairy free, Italian recipe, pasta, vegan
Servings: 2
Author: Lora


  • 1 pound broccoli florets- cut or broken into very small florets about equal size about 6 cups packed
  • 1 pound of orecchiette pasta or penne, rigatoni, etc
  • 4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 3 Tablespoons is to make sauce, 1 Tablespoon for serving
  • 1 large shallot diced
  • 6 garlic cloves- rough chopped
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste soy sauce, tamari or sub 1–2 mashed anchovies, if not vegan
  • 1 cup unsalted vegetable broth chicken broth is fine, if you’re not vegan
  • Garnish: crushed red flakes Calabrian red pepper, vegan cheese, nutritional yeast flakes, (if not vegan/dairy-free) grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino cheese


  • For the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (8 cups water + 1 tablespoon salt). While the water is heating up, prep the broccoli sauce.
  • For the broccoli: Cut the broccoli into small pieces. Fill a medium sauce pan with water. Bring to a boil and add the broccoli pieces. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Check the broccoli with a fork and when tender, drain in a colander and set aside.
  • Start the sauce: Heat a large saute’ pan over medium heat. Drizzle in the pan 3 tablespoons of the olive oil (I used extra-virgin). Tilt the pan to distribute it around the pan.
  • Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add in the shallots (or onions). Cook until they soften. Add in the miso paste (soy sauce or tamari or 1-2 anchovies, if not vegan). During the last minute lower the heat a little and add in the garlic (only takes less than a minute to combine with the shallots, do not let it brown, so keep stirring it).
  • Add in the broccoli: As soon as the garlic combines with the shallots and is fragrant, add in the broccoli. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli softens and starts to break down a bit. Add in some of the vegetable broth and keep stirring until it’s creating a soft broccoli sauce (broccoli sauce takes total 15-20 minutes to make). While you’re cooking the broccoli sauce, you’ll be making the pasta.
  • Add in some of the vegetable broth: Add in some broth keep stirring until it’s creating a soft broccoli sauce (broccoli sauce takes total 15-20 minutes to make). While you’re cooking the sauce, you’ll be making the pasta.
  • Cook the pasta: Add the pasta to the pot with the boiling water and cook according to package directions. You’ll be cooking the pasta until about 1-2 minutes from al dente.
  • When pasta is ready, drain (reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water). Add the pasta to the skillet with the broccoli sauce and use tongs or a spoon to combine the pasta in the sauce.
  • Combine the pasta with the sauce: Stir together with the pan on medium-high heat (be sure not to keep it longer than 2 minutes, so the pasta won’t get over cooked and too soft). Add in a little bit of the reserved pasta water, if needed, to create loosen the broccoli sauce a bit.
  • Check the seasoning: If needed, add more salt and some freshly ground pepper (to taste).
  • Serve the pasta and broccoli sauce: Add the pasta to a serving bowl or platter. Drizzle on about 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Garnish (optional): Sprinkle on some vegan parmesan, chopped Italian parsley (or fresh basil) and red pepper flakes (if you’re using). Enjoy!


Orecchiette pasta is preferred for this sauce, but penne or rigatoni are also nice (or whatever short pasta you have on hand).
  • Broccoli sauce gets softer and more luscious as it continues to cook. Adjust the broccoli texture to your taste. If you like it more firm, cook the broccoli in the skillet for less time. If you want it very mushy and soft, cook it longer. And it's not a pureed sauce sort of texture. It will be thicker than a silky tomato sauce.
  • Adjust the salt to your taste. If you use miso paste (or soy sauce), you’ll need less salt. Also, if you use a salted vegetable broth, you’ll need less salt (I used unsalted).
  • If you’re keeping it vegan (dairy free), serve with your favorite vegan cheese sprinkled on top, or nutritional yeast flakes.
  • Adjust the spice to your liking with crushed red pepper or jarred Calabrian peppers.