Skip to Content

Cavatelli And Broccoli Recipe

If you’re looking for a quick but satisfying dinner that won’t break the bank, look no further than Cavatelli and Broccoli!

This dish is super easy to prepare, takes just minutes to cook, and will fill you up without breaking the bank.

Table of Contents show

What Are The Ingredients In This Dish?

Cavatelli and Broccoli is composed of two main ingredients: pasta and vegetables.

It has a few more ingredients included as garnishes or seasoning, including cheese, oil/butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

But those items aren’t necessary for the preparation of this dish — and they’ll add unnecessary calories if you use them instead of using fresh herbs and spices.

Cavatelli And Broccoli Recipe

How Do You Make Cavatelli And Broccoli?

Cavatelli and broccoli is actually a very popular Italian-American dish.

It was introduced to America by immigrants from Italy who brought their love of this dish with them.

The most basic way to make cavatelli and broccoli is to boil water, then add salt to create a briny broth.

Once the water has boiled, you can start preparing the pasta.

To make the pasta, you need fresh cavatelli or dried cavatelli (which have been soaked).

You can also use any short noodle like spaghetti or linguini as well.

Then, you should finely chop the broccoli into small pieces.

Next, you want to saute the vegetables until they are tender.

After you finish cooking the vegetables, drain the pasta and toss both together.

Add garlic powder, red pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese, and butter to taste.

Serve immediately so the flavors don’t get mushy.

What Is The Nutritional Value Of This Recipe?

Cavatelli and Broccoli contains many health-conscious components, including whole grain pasta, vegetables, and protein from chicken breast.

The recipe also has a low amount of fat (0.5 grams per serving), which means you don’t have to worry about eating too much of it if you’re watching your weight.

The dish only has 441 calories per serving, which makes it perfect for those days when you need something healthy but still want to eat as much food as possible.

What Are Some Other Recipes Similar To This One?

Cavatelli and Broccoli is very similar to another popular Italian dish – Spaghetti Bolognese (see our post about how to make spaghetti bolognese).

If you’ve never had either of these before, they have very similar flavors and cooking methods.

The best part is, both of them come together quickly and are ready to eat within 30-40 minutes!

You might also enjoy our recipe for chicken parmesan which has all those same elements as well.

Cavatelli And Broccoli Recipe

How Long Does It Take To Make This Dish?

This dish only needs about 10-15 minutes of prep work before cooking (the time it takes to boil water).

Once everything is prepped, the total time is around 30 minutes from start to finish.

Step 1: Boil water.

To begin, bring 2 cups of salted water to a rolling boil over high heat.

While waiting for the water to come to a boil, cut off the bottoms of each head of broccoli so they sit flat against the cutting board.

Step 2: Cook pasta.

Once the water comes to a full rolling boil, add the spaghetti noodles and stir them gently until all the strands have been submerged in the boiling water.

Let the noodles cook for 8-10 minutes or until al dente.

The exact amount of time depends on how thick the pasta is — thicker pastas need more time to cook.

Step 3: Add vegetables & sauce.

After the noodles have cooked for their allotted time, drain them into a colander and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking process.

Remove the stems from the broccoli heads and discard them.

Use a large knife to slice the florets lengthwise into thin strips.

Set aside.

In a medium pot, combine the olive oil, butter, garlic, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.

Heat the mixture on low heat until melted together.

Stir in the flour to create a paste.

Slowly pour in the milk while stirring constantly, then slowly increase the heat setting to medium and continue stirring until the sauce has thickened slightly.

Turn down the heat again and let simmer for 5-7 minutes to thicken even more.

Add the lemon juice and Parmesan cheese to the pan and whisk vigorously to incorporate everything.

Now add the drained broccoli and mix thoroughly.

Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Finally, using tongs, remove the pasta from the colander and place it back onto the stove top where it was previously sitting.

Pour the entire contents of the pot directly onto the hot pasta and toss together with vigor.

Serve immediately, garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

What Are Some Tips For Making This Dish?

This recipe calls for homemade cavatelli, which means you need to start by preparing the dough.

You should have all the ingredients ready before beginning so as not to waste time or mess anything up.

To begin, mix together 2 1/4 cups flour, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon baking powder until combined into a stiff ball.

Add about 3/4 cup water, kneading with your hands until smooth.

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes while you prep the vegetables.

After resting, cut off any excess pieces of dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface.

Cut into small squares (about 4 inches each).

While you wait for your dough to rise, boil 6 quarts of salted water.

When boiling, add the pasta and stir once to ensure they don’t stick together.

Cook for 5-7 minutes, then drain and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

While still hot, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and set aside.

To cook, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat.

Once hot, sauté the sliced onion for 10 minutes.

While onions are cooking, chop the broccoli into bite sized pieces.

When onions are caramelized, add them to the pot along with 2 teaspoons minced garlic and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

Stir often to prevent sticking.

Cover the pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove lid and continue to cook covered for another 7 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Next, add the drained pasta to the pan and combine thoroughly.

Continue to cook for another minute, remove from heat, and top with grated Romano cheese.

Serve immediately.

Cavatelli And Broccoli Recipe

What Are Some Variations Of This Recipe?

This recipe comes from Food Network Magazine which says that it can also be prepared using penne or ziti instead of cavatelli.

It also suggests adding shredded chicken breast into the mixture at the end to add more protein to the dish.

Another variation would be to use frozen cauliflower florets instead of fresh ones.

Frozen vegetables tend to have a better texture after cooking so they’ll work great here.

You could even try substituting the ricotta cheese for feta if you like a slightly stronger taste.

Or you could substitute the cheddar cheese for mozzarella if you want something milder.

You can always experiment with different cheeses as well.

Some people might not care for the addition of black pepper to the dish but others may find it too strong so feel free to omit it completely if you prefer.

What Are Some Other Dishes That Go Well With This One?

This dish goes great with any number of different meals or side dishes.

Here are some ideas of what else you could pair it with:

Pizza crusts – Cavatelli and Broccoli is the perfect pizza topping because of its versatility.

You could use it as a base for pepperoni, sausage, spinach, olives, mushrooms, green peppers, onions…the list goes on.

Just add toppings whenever you want!

Baked potatoes – You could also bake individual servings of cavatelli and broccoli as a substitute for fries at home.

They taste so much better than store-bought fries anyway!

Stuffed Shells – A good way to get kids involved in the kitchen is by having them help stuff their own shells with cavatelli and broccoli before baking them.

It gives them a hands-on learning experience while still getting them involved in cooking.

Tortilla chips – The next time you have leftover tortillas, try using them in place of breadcrumbs to coat your stuffed shell.

The result is crispy, crunchy, delicious tortilla bites that are sure to please everyone!

Cheese balls – If you don’t like filling your mouth with cheesy goodness every night, why not whip up some cheese balls instead? All you need is a few handfuls of shredded cheese, beaten eggs, flour, water, salt and pepper, then roll them into bite sized balls.

Bake them until golden brown and serve with lemon wedges (or dip sauce if desired).

Spaghetti – Broccoli and spaghetti are a match made in heaven because they both contain lots of fiber and protein.

If you don’t love pasta, try serving this combo over zucchini noodles or angel hair pasta.

Either way, you’ll end up with a hearty meal that will satisfy even the pickiest eaters in the family.

Fettuccine Alfredo – For those who prefer creamy sauces, this is another option worth considering.

Instead of adding cream and butter to the sauce, simply stir in 1/3 cup plain yogurt to thicken it.

Add more milk or cream if needed.

Rice Pilaf – Another option would be to replace the pasta with rice.

Try substituting half of the pasta with cooked white rice for a slightly lighter version of this dish.

Mashed Potatoes – Potato lovers rejoice!

Mashing and mixing the cooked broccoli florets together with the mashed potato adds an additional layer of texture and flavor to this already delicious dish.

Green Beans – Some folks enjoy eating these veggies raw, but most people choose to steam them first to avoid losing nutrients during preparation.

What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Making This Dish?

Here are three things most people often forget about when they start cooking their own meals from scratch:

1) Measurements

When I first started cooking my own meals, I always forgot that measurements matter.

It’s very important to measure out all of the ingredients and have them ready before starting the process.

In order not to waste time, use measuring cups instead of spoons, so you don’t need to guess how much salt or pepper you put into your food if you aren’t sure what amount to add.

You should also keep track of the volume of liquids as well since many times we underestimate how much liquid goes into our foods.

For example, water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 Celsius), while soup comes to boil at 180 degrees F (82 C).

If you’ve ever tried to heat something up that was too hot, then you know that heat is extremely dangerous and can cause serious injury.

Make sure you pay attention to these details to avoid burning yourself during the entire cooking process.

2) Cooking Time

In addition to being careful about what temperature things are cooked at, you should also think about how long everything needs to be cooked.

Most of us tend to over-cook things because we want to get rid of excess grease, but if you overcook anything, it becomes tough, dry, chewy, and even burnt.

When you’re cooking multiple items together, try to leave each item enough room to finish cooking by itself.

A good rule of thumb is to check every 5 minutes after adding new ingredients until you see that the food has reached its desired state.

3) Using Too Much Salt

This mistake is usually caused by someone thinking that more salt equals tastier.

However, this isn’t true.

You only need a small amount of salt to bring out flavors.

Adding too much salt may actually ruin the taste of whatever you’re eating and make it unappetizing.

To test whether you added enough salt, taste it.

If it tastes bland, you probably used too much salt.

It’s best to experiment with different types of seasoning and spices to find out which ones work best for you.

Try using dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, and marjoram.

They’ll help perk up any dish and provide the necessary flavoring.

How Can This Dish Be Made Healthier?

The best part about this dish is how healthy it is—it’s got all the flavors of a traditional Italian favorite, but still has plenty of fiber, vitamins, protein, and minerals to keep you full and energized throughout the day.

This is also a great dish if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies.

It contains very few allergens (with the exception of dairy), and there isn’t anything else that would cause concern.

While we don’t list exact amounts for each ingredient, I recommend using only as much of each item as you need to get the desired taste.

The more you use, the longer it will take to cook, so try to stick with what’s necessary, rather than going overboard.

What Are The Ingredients In This Dish?

Cavatelli and Broccoli doesn’t require many ingredients, which makes it perfect for those who don’t have much time or money to spend on meals.

You start by boiling water for the pasta dough, then add the uncooked cavatelli noodles to the pot, along with the chopped broccoli florets and a pinch of salt.

The rest of the ingredients are added once the pasta has cooked through and drained off any excess liquid — minced garlic, Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese, and butter.

Once everything is mixed together, you top it all off with more Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

How Do You Make Cavatelli And Broccoli?

This delicious and hearty dish uses two popular pasta shapes – cavatelli and broccoli rabe – along with fresh Parmesan cheese and butter sauce.

It’s perfect as a main course or side dish, and comes together quickly so you can sit down and enjoy it while the rest of your family enjoys their own meals.

Step 1: Cook your pasta per package instructions (usually 10-12 minutes)

In order to get the best results from this dish, we recommend using short tubular pastas like cavatelli instead of wider flat pasta like penne.

You want to use shorter pasta because they don’t absorb liquid as much as long flat noodles, which makes them more delicate and easier to eat.

In addition, cavatelli tend to hold their shape better once cooked, which helps prevent overcooking during the final stages of cooking.

Step 2: Add your vegetables to a pot of boiling water until tender (about 5-8 minutes)

While the pasta cooks, start preparing your veggies.

We used broccoli rabe here, but any type of vegetable works well.

The key is choosing something that cooks fast enough so you can add it to the pot before the pasta starts to boil over.

Vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, green beans, asparagus, etc.

work great with this recipe.

Step 3: Drain your pasta & sauté with butter & garlic

When both the pasta and veggies are done cooking, drain the water completely, then return everything to the pan.

Next, melt a small amount of butter in a skillet over medium heat.

Once melted, add a few pinches of minced garlic and stir around for about 30 seconds.

Then pour the hot butter mixture into the pan containing all the veggies and pasta.

Stir everything around, and let it simmer for another minute or two.

Step 4: Sprinkle on parmesan cheese and serve immediately

Once the butter has started to coat the bottom of the pan, sprinkle half of the shredded Parmesan cheese evenly across the top.

Now stir everything again, and keep stirring until the pasta is coated with the buttery goodness.

Serve immediately, sprinkling the remaining cheese on top if desired.

What Is The Nutritional Value Of This Recipe?

Cavatelli and Broccoli boasts a low-calorie count (just under 210 calories per serving), which makes it perfect for those watching their waistline.

It also has a very high fiber count, as well as a decent amount of protein.

The carbs come from the pasta itself, so they aren’t too much to worry about either.

As far as vitamins and minerals go, cavatelli and broccoli is rich in vitamin C, folate, zinc, manganese, iron, potassium, magnesium, copper, and selenium.

It also has a good dose of B vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and biotin.

What Are Some Other Recipes Similar To This One?

Cavatelli and Broccoli is very similar to another popular Italian food – penne alla vodka (also known as “pasta vodka”).

The main difference between these two dishes is that the pasta used in the latter is thicker and more substantial than the cavatelli used here.

You may also want to check out our list of best vegan pizzas or some other great vegetarian pasta options if you want something different from the typical cavatelli and broccolio combo.

How Long Does It Take To Make This Dish?

This recipe only requires ten ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and about 15 minutes of hands-on time.

You can start by preheating your oven to 425 F degrees while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Then, after slicing all of the vegetables into thin slices, put them into a large pot over medium heat.

Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil, the minced garlic, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, and two tablespoons of butter.

Cook until the garlic and butter have melted together, then add the sliced mushrooms and sautee for five more minutes or so.

Once everything has been cooked through, turn off the stove and let everything cool down before proceeding with assembly.

What Are Some Tips For Making This Dish?

This dish is perfect for those who want something quick and delicious at home.

The key to any great homemade dinner is having all of your ingredients ready before starting to cook.

It makes things so much easier if everything is already prepped and organized.

If you have multiple cooking tasks going on simultaneously, try putting them off until after you finish preparing the rest of the food.

For example, instead of cleaning the kitchen while you chop vegetables, wash the vegetables first and then clean the sink afterwards.

This way you get more done at once.

Another good tip to remember is that most recipes call for salt and pepper to season their foods.

While they may not need more salt or pepper than what was called for in the original recipe, sometimes using more seasoning could help out the overall taste.

What Are Some Variations Of This Recipe?

Cavatelli and Broccoli has been around for quite awhile now, so there have been many different ways people have prepared it over time.

You might want to try adding chicken or shrimp into the mix as well, which gives it even more protein power.

It also works great if you add fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme instead of dried oregano.

You could always switch out the pasta for penne pasta, too.

If you prefer thicker noodles, you could use linguine instead of cavatelli.

What Are Some Other Dishes That Go Well With This One?

This delicious and healthy recipe goes great with any number of different meals – from sandwiches to salads or even tacos if you want to switch things up.

If you don’t have time to get out the oven, try baking it instead so you’ll still enjoy all of these wonderful flavors while saving on calories.

Here are some suggestions for what else you might serve alongside this dish:

Easy-to-eat salads

Cavatelli and Broccoli is best served as part of a larger salad, like a Caesar salad.

The creamy dressing works perfectly with the crunchy texture of the pasta, giving it a nice bite and filling you up at the same time.


You can also eat Cavatelli and Broccoli as a sandwich by itself, but why not add some avocado slices and fresh tomato along with the broccoli florets for added nutrients and taste? You could also swap out the whole wheat pasta for regular pasta and use half the amount of oil called for here.


Another option would be to serve it as a taco, which gives you more options for how you want to shape it.

To turn this into a taco, cut it lengthwise before adding it to the tortillas, then top them off with guacamole, salsa, sour cream, shredded lettuce, and whatever toppings you love most.

What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Making This Dish?

Cavatelli and broccoli is great because it uses two basic ingredients most everyone has at home, cavatelli (or rigatoni) pasta and broccoli, which makes it pretty versatile as far as what goes along with it.

But there are several ways to get these two main components together, so here are some common mistakes to avoid if you want to make sure your family enjoys the best version of this delicious side dish.

Not cooking the pasta enough

Most often, the only thing stopping you from enjoying this dish is not having cooked the pasta long enough.

The longer the pasta cooks, the more starch gets absorbed into the water, so after about 8-10 minutes of boiling, you should have plenty of time to finish preparing everything else before eating.

Overcooking the broccoli

The key to cooking broccoli right is using a large pot.

You don’t need much water, just enough to cover the broccoli completely.

If you use too much water, then the broccoli will become mushy or even start to fall apart.

So stick with 1/4 cup of water per pound of broccoli, and let it simmer until the pieces of broccoli are bright green and tender.

Adding too many flavors

While adding a few spices like red pepper flakes or grated Parmesan cheese is fine, you shouldn’t add any additional herbs, vegetables, or sauces to your dish.

It might seem tempting to throw something like fresh spinach into the pan once the broccoli starts to soften, but doing so will cause the broccoli to turn brown.

And although it may work out okay if you remove the broccoli first, it would be better to simply add some salt and pepper to the broccoli itself rather than throwing in all those extra steps.

Storing the leftovers incorrectly

Don’t toss the leftover cavatelli and broccoli mixture back into its original container.

Instead, transfer them to another bowl and pour off the liquid in the bottom of the pot.

Then put the drained pasta and broccoli mixture in a tupperware container or freezer bag, and freeze it until needed.

When you reheat the pasta later, you’ll find that it comes back to life quickly without being soggy or falling apart.

How Can This Dish Be Made Healthier?

There isn’t much room for improvement here – I mean, who doesn’t love cavatelli and broccoli?!

But if you want to cut back a little on sodium or fat content, then there are several ways to do so.

First off, try substituting half-and-half for whole milk in the sauce (which has about 400 mg per tablespoon).

You could also use skimmed milk instead of whole milk, as well as low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese instead of regular.

The meat itself is pretty lean, so you don’t need to worry too much about cutting out any saturated fats.

If you really want to trim down on calories, then ditch the meat altogether and serve with steamed vegetables like zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, and mushrooms.

Or better yet, add them into the cooking water at the beginning of the process to keep their nutrients intact.

Cavatelli And Broccoli Recipe

Cavatelli And Broccoli

While it may appear simple, this cavatelli and broccoli recipe is delicious!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Cavatelli And Broccoli
Servings: 12
Calories: 346kcal


  • Pot


  • 3 heads broccoli fresh, cut into florets
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 ½ pounds cavatelli pasta
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes crushed
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese grated


  • Blanch broccoli for 5 minutes in a large pot of boiling water. Set aside after draining.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Cook the garlic until it is lightly golden, taking care not to burn it. Mix in the broccoli. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Broccoli should be tender but still crunchy to the bite.
  • Meanwhile, cook cavatelli for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente, in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Season with salt and hot pepper flakes and toss with the broccoli. Garnish with parmesan cheese.



Calories: 346kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 264mg | Potassium: 614mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1003IU | Vitamin C: 136mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Follow me