Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Green Olives

Believe it: broccoli, pesto, and green olives. This spaghetti dish tastes incredibly natural. Although I believe you’ll want to keep it in your repertoire for the rest of the year, it’s ideal for springtime feasts.

I’m pleased I discovered the recipe in my friend Kelly Senyei’s brand-new guidebook, The Secret Ingredient Cookbook, because I never would have thought of this pasta combination on my own. Kelly may be familiar to you from her blog, Just a Taste. Kelly is a kind person, a skilled chef, and a dedicated mother to three boys who are all under the age of five.

The 125 family-friendly dishes in Kelly’s new cookbook all feature interesting secret ingredient twists. I don’t want to give anything away, but I’m excited to try the Greek chopped salad with halloumi cheese, 30-minute mac and cheese with pumpkin, and mushroom ravioli with brown butter sauce (with goat cheese, and made entirely from scratch). And wait until you see the sweets, good gosh.

The secret ingredient in this broccoli pesto pasta recipe is green olives. They mask the taste of the broccoli while providing a mouthwatering briny olive flavor. According to her, her boys adore this dish, thus it was created for the entire family. In my refrigerator, I discovered some ricotta, and I loved spreading a couple dollops over my bowl. Serve it whatever you like!

Notes and Advice for Broccoli Pesto Pasta

  • The preparation of this spaghetti takes little time for weeknight meals. It takes slightly over 30 minutes to complete.
  • According to Kelly, this pasta is suitable for all seasons because it may be served warm, at room temperature, or cold.
  • Making this pasta vegan or dairy-free is simple. Simply leave out the cheese and look for recommendations in the recipe notes.
  • Use as much pesto as you’d like, and store any extra in the freezer (see recipe note for details). I used all of it since I like juicy pastas.
  • I enjoy adding a few dollops of ricotta, some red pepper flakes, and a thin drizzle of olive oil to this spaghetti before serving. Serve it as described if you (or your kids) prefer milder flavors!

How to Make Pasta with Broccoli Pesto

You’re going to adore how this dish turns out. The whole recipe can be found here or on page 129 of Kelly’s book. To summarize:

Broccoli should be cooked briefly in a big pot of boiling water. After that, put the broccoli in a blender and cook the pasta in the boiling water.
To bring out their best, most nutty taste, roast the pine nuts in a skillet for a few minutes in the interim. the blender with the pine nuts.
Blender with the remaining pesto ingredients (drained olives, basil, garlic, Parmesan and black pepper). Before draining the pasta, save a little of the cooking water and add 1/2 cup to the blender.

Combine the pesto by pulsing it. Drizzle olive oil into the blender as it is running, then purée the mixture.
Add as much pesto as you wish to the pasta, stir, and serve.

ALso read: Margherita Pizza


  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 pound uncooked pasta, such as rigatoni or penne
  • 1 cup green olives, drained and pitted
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (about 1 ⅓ ounce, or 2 small containers)
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Several twists of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Optional, for serving (my additions): Dollops of ricotta and/or red pepper flakes, drizzle of olive oil


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the broccoli florets and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to a blender.
  2. Bring the water back to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
  3. Cook the pine nuts in a small saucepan set over medium heat, moving the nuts around, until fragrant and toasted, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the pine nuts to the broccoli in the blender, along with the olives, basil, garlic, Parmesan, pepper, and ½ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Pulse until combined, stopping to stir as necessary.
  5. With the blender running, stream in the olive oil, stopping the blender and scraping down the sides as needed, until the pesto is pureed. Taste and season with salt and additional pepper.
  6. In a large bowl, toss together the pasta with your desired amount of pesto (I used all of it), thinning it with additional reserved pasta water 2 tablespoons at a time if needed. Sprinkle with some additional grated Parmesan, if you’d like.
  7. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. Serve in individual bowls, as-is or with dollops of ricotta, sprinkle of red pepper flakes or a light drizzle of olive oil. Leftover pesto pasta keeps well in the fridge, covered, for 4 days.