Going to college several hours away from home has made me realize what meals I miss when I'm away and what meals remind me of home. I grew up eating a fusion between my Dad's Italian background and my Mom's southern roots–Italian and southern food, what more can you ask for? While I love a good eggplant parm or my Mom's mashed potatoes, there's one meal that is unique to our family... meaning I can't order it at a restaurant. 

Pasta with broccoli is a seemingly easy and simple recipe but the flavor combinations pair perfectly together and it just brings me back to the countless nights growing up sitting at the kitchen counter with my parents.

Luckily for you, I am going to share my family's secret (it's honestly so simple and I shouldn't even be calling it a secret) recipe for one of my all time favorite pasta dishes.

Pasta with Broccoli and Breadcrumbs

  • Prep Time:10 mins
  • Cook Time:25 mins
  • Total Time:35 mins
  • Servings:4
  • Easy


  • 1 box orecchiette
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 sliced white onion
  • 3 cups chopped mushrooms
  • Chopped fresh parsley to your liking
  • Salt & Pepper other desired seasonings
Nikki D'Ambrosio
  • Step 1

    Heat water to steam broccoli (the broccoli will probably take longer to cook so take that into consideration.) Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to instructions.

    Nikki D'Ambrosio
  • Step 2

    Add breadcrumbs to a skillet and keep turning until they are brown and toasty. Add salt, pepper, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Continue stirring – keep your eyes on these because they burn quickly. Take off heat and let cool slightly then add cheese. Stir and let sit.

    Nikki D'Ambrosio
  • Step 3

    At the same time as the breadcrumbs, add onions, mushrooms, and olive oil to a skillet and sauté until onions are translucent. Add salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook on low.

    Nikki D'Ambrosio
  • Step 4

    Add the 5 tbsp of olive to a small skillet and let it heat up. Turn down the head and add the garlic. Continue cooking until the garlic is slightly brown – WILL BURN QUICKLY, keep your eye on it!

    Nikki D'Ambrosio
  • Step 5

    Drain pasta and add to a big bowl. Mix in the cooked broccoli. Finally, add in the garlic oil and toss together.

    Nikki D'Ambrosio
  • Step 6

    Serve the breadcrumbs and mushrooms and onions on the side. I typically layer the pasta with broccoli, mushrooms and onions, breadcrumbs, and a lil more parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

    Nikki D'Ambrosio

Despite this meal being a pain to clean up due to the excessive amount of pots used, it couldn't be easier and the delicious meal will be worth the cleaning up afterwards. This meal always reminds me of home but more importantly my family. I am lucky to be able to share a little piece of me with all of you.