Kid, Toddler, and Adult Friendly Pasta with Broccoli and Garlic Parmesan Sauce
If you love a creamy white pasta sauce then this recipe is for you! It is a kid, toddler, and adult friendly pasta recipe that cooks in under 15 minutes and is as convenient and comforting as it can get.
This recipe was inspired by my kids love for pasta with broccoli. Plus, it comes together in a matter of minutes. Want something with more flavor? Then give my One Pot Mexican Mac and Cheese with Homemade Cheese Sauce a try.
Broccoli Pasta with Parmesan Sauce
A total of 8 ingredients! With an option to add spice such as Trader Joe's Chili Oil.
- flour (only if using milk)
- fresh parmesan cheese
- bouillon cubes/paste/powder
- fresh garlic (optional)
See recipe card for quantities. Add extra veggies if you like! Carrots are a great addition according to my toddler. which is another favorite vegetable of hers.
Instructions (one pot)
Boil pasta and broccoli in a pot with just water (no salt) and drain the water completely. TIP: add broccoli half way through the cooking process to keep the broccoli whole.
Add butter, cream, parmesan cheese, fresh grated garlic, and bouillon to the pot. (skip the flour and butter roux for one pot option)
Mix the contents together and let it thicken.
TIP: Add extra veggies such as carrots or baby spinach.
- Cream- substitute with a mixture of milk + flour
- Parmesan Cheese- Substitute with Pecorino Romano or Unexpected Cheddar from Trader Joe's
- Broccoli- Substitute with other vegetables such as carrots or asparagus
- Toddler Pasta Recipe- Use cream, butter, salt free bouillon, and no salt (no salt before 1 was my practice)
- Kid Friendly- eliminate the garlic and use cream (fats are healthy for kids brain development)
- Spicy- Add crushed red chili flakes
- Deluxe- Add baby spinach
- One large pot
- Small pot to make creamy parmesan sauce (optional)
- Grater to grate parmesan cheese and fresh garlic
- Refrigerate - it stores well for a few days if you like thick sauce that clings to pasta.
- Large Quantity- If making for a large gathering, I recommend making it the day of and storing it in an oven safe pan for easy warming
Mac and cheese usually has a sharp cheddar cheese included in the sauce whereas a parmesan sauce has freshly grated parmesan cheese. The two recipes are completely different because of this one ingredient.
Yes! Broccoli pasta is very kid-friendly. In fact, since this dish is made with butter and cream/milk it is a great recipe to make for kids under 2. The more fat the better for brain development
Try any of the following shapes made with flour that meets your family's dietary needs. Brown rice, lentil, grain-free, or semolina pasta are great options. Shapes I love for this recipe include elbow macaroni, cavatappi, bowtie, rotini, or Gemelli.
Yes! Make it with heavy cream and you have a delicious sauce that pairs well with spaghetti squash. It can also be used as a dipping sauce for chicken wings and vegetables.
Pair it with some warm bread as a dipping sauce.
A low sodium version that I always recommend is by Rapunzel Brand, normally found at health food stores.
- When cooking for 1-2 people, or in a hurry, use the one pot method.
- Otherwise, I recommend making the sauce separately from the pasta and broccoli.
- Do not add salt to the recipe until the very end.
Try these other pasta recipes...
Pasta with Broccoli and Garlic Parmesan Sauce
- 10 oz dry pasta, cooked with no salt or oil
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1.5 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (can buy pre-shredded)
- 3 bouillon cubes
- 1 cup cream (can substitute with milk mixed with 1 tablespoon flour) see notes
- 2 cups broccoli florets (and stems if preferred), fresh is recommended
- 4-5 cloves garlic, fresh and grated (can skip for kids)
- salt (add after a final taste test)
- water (if needed to loosen the cheese sauce)
PASTA + BROCCOLI
- Cook the pasta with no salt or oil.
- Add the broccoli to the pasta pot the last few minutes of the cooking process. Alternatively, steam the broccoli on the side.
- Strain and set it aside or immediately mix with the garlic parmesan sauce.
GARLIC PARMESAN SAUCE
- While the pasta cooks make the cheesy garlic parmesan sauce by heating butter in a sauce pan on medium heat.
- Add the fresh garlic and cook for a few seconds. Try not to brown the garlic.
- Add the cream/milk and the bouillon. Allow it to come to a boil.
- Whisk until the bouillon is fully mixed with the cream/milk.
- Once the cream/milk reaches a boil and the bouillon is mixed in, turn off the heat.
- Add the parmesan cheese and continue to whisk until a cheese sauce has formed.
- Mix in the pasta with the cheese sauce. Combine it together and add a little bit of water if needed. I like to keep the sauce thick so it clings to the pasta.
- Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes on very low heat. Taste and add salt accordingly (if needed).