Garlic and broccoli penne gets major flavor from roasting both the garlic and the broccoli in the oven before tossing with olive oil and pasta. This easy vegetarian pasta recipe is mostly hands off, making it a great choice for a busy weeknight dinner!
Garlic. And broccoli. And penne. It’s easy weeknight dinner time!
I have very little skill when it comes to 30 minute dinners. But. Dinner where you can let something cook for 30+ minutes without touching it? That I can do.
This vegetarian pasta recipe uses roasted garlic, which is one of my favorite things on planet earth because it takes an entire head of garlic and turns it into something that I could probably eat in one sitting. It’s so freaking flavorful!
Garlic takes on a sweet, mellow flavor when fully roasted so this amount is just right for me. If it seems like too much for you, however, cut it back by as much as you’d like.
We’re pairing it with my oven roasted broccoli because, as we’ve established, that is also one heck of a good way to eat something. Add all that to quick cooking penne and you won’t believe what you made with like 15 minutes of hands on work in the game.
Part of what makes this so easy is that it gives you plenty of room to improvise or make substitutions. Use whatever amount of broccoli you have on hand or swap in sweet potato, sautéed spinach, or caramelized onions.
How to make garlic and broccoli penne
- Roast garlic
- Roast broccoli
- Cook penne, reserving a cup of cooking liquid
- Heat olive oil, then mash in garlic and broccoli
- Add the pasta along with Parmesan cheese and pasta water. Toss to coat!
As always, you can find a vegetarian parmesan cheese if you’d like (because not all parmesan is vegetarian) or leave it off.
This garlic and broccoli penne recipe can be customized! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Swap the roasted garlic for 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced and cooked in the oil for 30 seconds before adding the broccoli
- Leave off the cheese or top with vegan parmesan to make this a vegan pasta dish
- Use gluten free noodles to make it gluten free
- Swap the roasted broccoli for an equal amount of any other roasted vegetable such as squash, zucchini, or tomatoes
More vegetarian pasta recipes
- Orecchiette with Spinach and Butter Beans
- Olive Oil Alfredo Sauce
- Fettuccine Alfredo with Cajun Tofu
- Roasted Garlic and Tomato Penne
- Pesto Linguine with Crispy Balsamic Chickpeas
Roasted Garlic and Broccoli Pasta
- 1 head garlic
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting
- 1 large or 2 small heads broccoli, cut into small florets
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound penne pasta
- ¼ – ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- Crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Cut the top off the head of garlic, exposing the cloves, and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the garlic tightly in a piece of aluminum foil and place in the oven until the cloves are dark and very soft, about 45 minutes. Allow the garlic to cool enough so you are able to handle it, then squeeze the pulp out of the skin or remove it gently with a butter knife.
- Meanwhile, rub broccoli with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until beginning to brown and crisp, 15-20 minutes, tossing once if desired.
- While the vegetables are cooking bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Just before it is done cooking, reserve ½ a cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta but do not rinse.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roasted garlic to the pan and mash into a paste with the back of a spoon or fork.
- Add the roasted broccoli and continue to mash a bit, adding a splash or two of pasta water to make a sauce. When all the ingredients are hot and slightly mashed add the pasta and ¼ cup of Parmesan and toss to coat. You can add another tablespoon of olive oil or a bit more pasta water if you want it a little saucier. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve pasta with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes.