Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Green Olives

Broccoli, pesto, and green olives—believe it! 

This broccoli pesto pasta with green olives recipe tastes so fresh. It’s perfectly suited for springtime dinners, though I think you’ll want to keep it in your repertoire for the rest of the year.

This broccoli pesto pasta with green olives recipe as the secret ingredient. They offer a delicious briny olive flavor and cover up the flavor of the broccoli. She says her boys absolutely love this dish, so this dish is designed for the whole family. I found some ricotta in my fridge and really enjoyed a few dollops over my bowl. Serve it as you please!

Broccoli Pesto Pasta Notes And Tips

  • This pasta comes together quickly for weeknight dinners. It’s ready in just over 30 minutes.
  • Kelly says this pasta can be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled, so it’s perfect for all seasons.
  • This pasta could easily be made dairy free/vegan. Just omit the cheese, and see the recipe notes for suggested alternatives.
  • Use as much of the pesto as you’d like, and freeze any leftover pesto for later (see recipe note for details). I love saucy pastas, so I used all of it.
  • I love to serve this pasta with a few dollops of ricotta, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a light drizzle of olive oil. If you (or your kids) prefer more mellow flavors, serve it as written instead!


Recipe yields 4 to 6 servings.

  • 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

How to Make Broccoli Pesto Pasta

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cook the pine nuts in a small saucepan set over medium heat, moving the nuts around, until fragrant and toasted, about 3 minutes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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