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Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta

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I’m excited to introduce you to my mouthwatering recipe: Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta. Picture this: tender broccoli florets nestled among swirls of al dente pasta, coated in a velvety cheddar cheese sauce. It’s a harmonious blend of wholesome greens and rich, creamy indulgence, marrying comfort with nutrition in every bite. Join me on a culinary journey as we dive into the delicious world of Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta.

Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta

What you’ll love about this recipe:


  • Delectable Flavor Fusion: Experience the perfect marriage of sharp cheddar cheese with the earthy goodness of broccoli, creating a symphony of flavors that dance on your taste buds.
  • Creamy Indulgence: Dive into a luxurious creamy sauce that hugs every strand of pasta, delivering a comforting richness that satisfies your cravings.
  • Nutritious Balance: Enjoy guilt-free indulgence knowing that you’re also getting a dose of nutrients from the vibrant green broccoli, packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.
  • Textural Harmony: Delight in the contrasting textures as you bite into tender broccoli florets nestled amidst the chewy pasta, creating a delightful mouthfeel that keeps you coming back for more.
  • Quick and Easy: Whip up this dish in no time for a hassle-free meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends, ensuring you can enjoy deliciousness without the stress of lengthy preparation.
  • Versatile Appeal: Customize your Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta with additional ingredients like crispy bacon, savory mushrooms, or zesty herbs to suit your taste preferences, making it a versatile canvas for culinary creativity.
  • Family Favorite: Win over even the pickiest eaters with this crowd-pleasing dish that combines familiar flavors in a new and exciting way, earning you praise as the ultimate kitchen hero.
  • Satisfying Comfort Food: Whether you’re seeking solace on a chilly evening or simply craving a comforting meal, Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta offers warmth and satisfaction in every mouthful, wrapping you in a cozy embrace of culinary bliss.
Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta on a fork

Just a few ingredients

  • 1 pound of pasta
  • 4 cups of water
  • 16 ounces of frozen broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of milk or half-and-half
  • 16 ounces of cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon of salt
  • 1/4 tablespoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
Instant Pot Cheddar and Broccoli

Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta Recipe

Instant Pot:

  • Add the pasta to your Instant Pot.
  • Pour in 4 cups of water or broth
  • Add the butter and frozen broccoli.
  • Set the Instant Pot to manual high pressure for 4 minutes.
  • Perform a quick release of the pressure.
  • Switch the Instant Pot to sauté mode.
  • Stir in the milk and seasonings.
  • Gradually add the cheese, stirring until melted and creamy.
  • Serve and savor every delicious bite.

Stove Top:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until it’s al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a separate large skillet or saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  4. Add the frozen broccoli to the skillet and cook until it’s heated through and slightly tender, stirring occasionally.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in the milk (or half-and-half) into the skillet.
  6. Season with black pepper, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper (if using), stirring to combine.
  7. Gradually sprinkle in the cheddar cheese, stirring constantly until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth and creamy.
  8. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet, tossing gently to coat it evenly with the cheesy broccoli sauce.
  9. Once everything is heated through, remove the skillet from the heat.
  10. Serve the broccoli and cheddar pasta hot, and enjoy the comforting flavors!

Tips & Tricks

  • Choose the Right Pasta: Opt for a pasta shape that can hold onto the creamy sauce, such as penne, fusilli, or rotini.
  • Don’t Overcook the Broccoli: If using fresh broccoli instead of frozen, blanch it in boiling water for just a few minutes until it’s crisp-tender before adding it to the sauce. This will help retain its vibrant color and crisp texture.
  • Adjust the Cheese: Experiment with different types of cheese or a combination of cheeses for varied flavor profiles. Sharp cheddar works wonderfully, but you can also try smoked cheddar, Gruyère, or fontina for a twist.
  • Add Protein: Enhance the dish by incorporating protein-rich ingredients like grilled chicken, crispy bacon, or sautéed shrimp for a heartier meal.
  • Customize the Seasonings: Tailor the seasonings to your taste preferences. Feel free to add fresh herbs like parsley or thyme for an extra burst of flavor.
  • Thin out the Sauce if Needed: If the sauce becomes too thick, you can adjust the consistency by adding a splash of milk or chicken broth until it reaches your desired thickness.
  • Prep Ahead: Save time by prepping some ingredients in advance, such as chopping the broccoli or shredding the cheese, so you can streamline the cooking process.
  • Garnish with Crunch: For added texture, top your pasta with toasted breadcrumbs, crushed nuts, or crispy fried shallots just before serving.
  • Serve with a Side Salad: Balance out the richness of the pasta by pairing it with a simple side salad dressed with vinaigrette for a refreshing contrast.

FAQs about Broccoli Pasta

Yes, you can absolutely use fresh broccoli! Simply blanch it in boiling water for a few minutes until it’s crisp-tender before adding it to the pasta and sauce. For Instant Pot you may add fresh broccoli without blanching.

While it’s best enjoyed fresh, you can prepare the components ahead of time and assemble the dish just before serving. Store the cooked pasta, broccoli, and sauce separately in the refrigerator, and combine them when ready to eat.

This dish pairs well with a steak salad dressed with vinaigrette, pull apart bread, or Betty’s Cucumber Salad for a complete and satisfying meal.

Reheat leftover pasta gently on the stove over low heat or in the microwave, adding a splash of milk to revive the sauce if it has thickened. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating.

While pasta dishes with creamy sauces don’t always freeze well due to texture changes upon thawing, you can freeze the components separately. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat as directed.

Feel free to experiment with different cheeses such as Gruyère, fontina, or smoked cheddar for unique flavor variations.

broccoli-and-Cheddar-Pasta
Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta

Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Instant Pot Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta is a super easy side dish that you can make for dinner tonight. Tender pasta, in a cheesy homemade sauce and tender broccoli in every single bite. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of pasta
  • 4 cups of water
  • 16 ounces of frozen broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of milk or half-and-half
  • 16 ounces of cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon of salt
  • 1/4 tablespoon of cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions

    Instant Pot:

    1. Add the pasta to your Instant Pot.
    2. Pour in 4 cups of water or broth
    3. Add the butter and frozen broccoli.
    4. Set the Instant Pot to manual high pressure for 4 minutes.
    5. Perform a quick release of the pressure.
    6. Switch the Instant Pot to sauté mode.
    7. Stir in the milk and seasonings.
    8. Gradually add the cheese, stirring until melted and creamy.
    9. Serve and savor every delicious bite.

    Stove Top:

    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
    2. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until it’s al dente. Drain and set aside.
    3. In a separate large skillet or saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
    4. Add the frozen broccoli to the skillet and cook until it’s heated through and slightly tender, stirring occasionally.
    5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in the milk (or half-and-half) into the skillet.
    6. Season with black pepper, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper (if using), stirring to combine.
    7. Gradually sprinkle in the cheddar cheese, stirring constantly until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth and creamy.
    8. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet, tossing gently to coat it evenly with the cheesy broccoli sauce.
    9. Once everything is heated through, remove the skillet from the heat.
    10. Serve the broccoli and cheddar pasta hot, and enjoy the comforting flavors!
    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 506Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 1089mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 26g

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    50 Comments

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    3. Another excellent quick dinner that everyone agreed will need to be repeated!
      We improvised a bit and added some cooked ground chicken, and used fresh broccoli.
      Our only suggestion is to add a pinch of salt and pepper.
      (5 stars)

    4. Im not a healthy person, but I would add more broccoli and less cheese 😉 thumbs up on fast and easy though!

    5. I got a block of cheese and some chicken to throw in.. but I don’t have a steamer yet for my instant pot so can I steam them in the microwave then add with the chicken and cheese?

      1. I just dropped fresh, uncut broccoli on top of the pasta and cooked it with the pasta. I wouldn’t waste time with the microwave or a steamer insert which is another piece to clean after. 😉

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    7. There was still water left in the bottom of the pot after I quick released it at the end to add the milk and cheese — needless to say, it was very water after stirring. Is this normal?

    8. This was super delicious! I did a clean-out-the-fridge version, replacing the cheese with Boursin, and using fresh broccoli. I also added a bunch of seasoning. It was awesome! Thanks for posting. (PS: The broccoli was super smashy, so if people want al dente broccoli, they’d do well to cook it less.)

    9. What is the point of placing the Insta pot on saute….? Do we leave it on that setting for however long we think….because it does nothing when you need to take the lid off to stir in the milk and cheese…?

      1. I’m guessing she says to use saute to heat up the sauce and cook it down a little. When you do saute you leave the cover off, or I do anyway. That way you can keep stirring so it doesn’t burn the cheese/milk.

    10. So yummy! I followed the recipe amounts except I only used 12oz of cheese and did Gouda. I added salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. The sauce was perfect, not watery. I microwaved the frozen broccoli because I was afraid it would be too mushy at 4 minutes based on previous experience. So easy and I’ll make this again and again!

    11. I wasn’t expecting this to be so tasty. I first cooked boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a cup of water with a tsp of better than broth, chicken flavored, for 12 minutes. Then I took out the chicken and measured the leftover water. I used 1 pound of spaghetti, broken in half so they fit and added water to the liquid to equal 4 cups. Then I added 2-3 cups of fresh broccoli on top. I cooked for 4 minutes as recommended. I shredded the chicken while the pasta cooked and added it to the pot once the pasta/broccoli was finished. Added the cheese and half and half afterwards. Besides adding a healthy dose of salt and pepper and a few shakes of garlic powder, it really didn’t need a lot of seasoning. Delicious!

    12. Looks like a winner recipe! I recently began using the sous vide technique and am interested in how you making your chicken that you mentioned on this page. Big fan here! Thank you!

    13. Question, do you steam the frozen broccoli BEFORE adding it to the pasta/water? Otherwise, what function is a steamer basket that you speak of in the blog?

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