Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli

This vibrant orecchiette pasta uses 10 ingredients and takes 30 minutes to make. Pesto & a dash of white wine make it a delicious weeknight go-to.

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli and Parmesan

Welcome to Day 4 of my meal plan week, where we’re making orecchiette pasta! In case you haven’t been following, here are Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. This week, I’m posting easy real-life meals where each one leads into the next, making cook/prep time a breeze. This is the way I love to cook – it’s fun, it’s flexible, and I hope it helps inspire your own meal planning. And speaking of meal planning, here’s a shameless plug for our new meal journal, The Love & Lemons Meal Record & Market List, which is a handy tool to help you organize your meals.

Now that we’re later in the week… pasta!! Why? Because pasta is fun, and it’s the perfect vehicle to use up bits and bobs of leftover vegetables. I also always have it in the pantry. I chose orecchiette pasta for this recipe because orecchiette, broccoli, and sausage are a classic combo. I skipped the sausage, of course, but I love how this pasta shape scoops up the chickpeas and mirrors the round Brussels sprouts in this recipe. Let’s cook!

Orecchiette Pasta Recipe Ingredients

Orecchiette Pasta Recipe Ingredients

You can make this orecchiette pasta recipe as part of our meal plan, or not. Here’s what you’ll need, whether you’re weaving it into the week of meals or whipping it up on its own:

  1. A great sauce! I use the green sauce from the beginning of the week, but any variation of pesto will do.
  2. A few big handfuls of Brussels sprouts
  3. Leftover kale stems. I had some from the kale salad that I made the other night, but you could skip them, or use asparagus instead.
  4. A half bunch of broccolini
  5. Chickpeas
  6. Orecchiette pasta
  7. A few shavings of pecorino cheese

That’s all you need! And don’t worry if you don’t have these exact ingredients on hand. Read on for some of my favorite variations!

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli

Orecchiette Pasta Recipe Variations

This orecchiette pasta recipe is super flexible, so feel free to swap in the vegetables you have on hand or make it to suit your tastes. Here are a few of my favorite ways to change it up:

  • Substitute basil pesto for the kale sauce.
  • Skip the pesto, and finish everything with a big squeeze of lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.
  • Change up the veggies! Broccoli, broccoli rabe, asparagus, cauliflower, or spinach would all be great here.
  • Swap the pecorino for Parmesan or feta.
  • Roast the chickpeas for extra crunch.
  • Add a handful of toasted pine nuts.
  • Make it vegan by skipping the cheese and adding 2 teaspoons of capers.
  • Use gluten-free pasta to make it gluten-free. (I’m a fan of brown rice penne!)
  • Skip the orecchiette and serve the veggies and the sauce over a bed of roasted spaghetti squash.

Let me know what variations you try!

If you love this orecchiette pasta recipe…

Make it as part of our 5-Day Meal Plan, or try my penne pasta, pasta pomodoro, spaghetti bolognese, pesto pasta, or lasagna next!

4.7 from 3 reviews

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This simple orecchiette pasta with broccoli gets lovely flavor from white wine. Skip the cheese to make it vegan, and use gluten-free pasta to make it gluten-free.
Recipe type: Main dish
Serves: 2
  • 6 ounces orecchiette pasta
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1½ cups halved Brussels sprouts
  • ½ cup chopped kale stems
  • Half bunch of broccolini, florets chopped, stems finely chopped
  • Splash of white wine or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup Creamy Kale Pepita Pesto (from the grain bowl recipe)*
  • Shavings of pecorino or parmesan cheese, optional
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare the pasta according to the package directions, or until al dente. Drain the pasta and toss it with a drizzle of olive oil to keep it from sticking together. Return the empty pot to the stove and let it cool slightly.
  2. Coat the bottom of the pasta pot with a generous drizzle of olive oil and heat to medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts, kale stems, broccolini stems, and a pinch of salt and cook until nearly tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the broccolini florets and cook until the vegetables are all tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Add a splash of wine and stir to loosen any bits that might be sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook for 30 seconds, then reduce the heat to low. Stir in the pasta and the chickpeas and cook stirring gently, until just heated through. Season with more salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Transfer to plates and serve with generous dollops of the pepita pesto and shavings of pecorino cheese, if desired.
*If you're following the 5-day meal plan, be sure you have a few tablespoons of sauce left for the next recipe (the cauliflower soup). If you're running low, stir in a bit more olive oil to make the sauce stretch further.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Thank you so much for organizing this! I have just completed Day 1 and it was awesome!

  2. PJ

    After years of not liking brussel sprouts, I bought some at the farmer’s market and tried this recipe 😀
    I made some minor modifications, but liked it!
    Had no kale stems and only “normal” broccoli, so I threw everything together in the pot. I also used some of the noodle cooking water and technically cooked the vegetables in this starchy water. At the end of cooking time, I threw in some ruccola leaves I needed to use up 😀
    With a big dollop of basil pesto and a generous grate of parmiggiano reggiano, it was very tasty. And it might even change my opition on brusel sprouts 😀

  3. Div

    To think I hated brussels sprouts for half my life… I made this for dinner tonight and it was quick, so incredibly tasty and looked beautiful too. Thank you for sharing these wonderful recipes – can’t wait to try some others x

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Thanks Div! I used to hate brussels sprouts too, ha ha 🙂

  4. Elizabeth

    Thank you so much for organizing this! I have just completed Day 1 and it was awesome! I will be completing days 2-5 🙂

  5. Emily

    Food sounds yummy and look fabulous!! My thanks for doing such a good job.

  6. Celine

    This looks too beautiful to eat but I will! Yum! I just got my Echo Dot and set up Alexa and you are under the food section. And you have a five star rating! Congratulations! I can’t wait to ask Alexa to go on Love and Lemons!

  7. Can’t wait to try this Broccolini & Brussels Sprout Orecchiette

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.