Broccoli with Lemon Rigatoni. One more dish of pasta for your repertoire. I love this recipe.

This creamy lemon broccoli pasta recipe is not only deliciously creamy, the best part of this recipe is that it is ready to be served at your table in less than 20 minutes.

broccoli with lemon rigatoni

Quick and easy, this Italian pasta recipe will please the palate of everyone you serve.

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As you know, I love lemon and use it as often as possible.

On every vegetable, instead of vinegar for my salad, over chicken, and yes, with pasta too.

That, to me, is a bonus.

In this Article


They are excellent for your health as they contain vitamins and minerals. Also known for reducing inflammation and improving blood sugar. Broccoli also contains beta-carotene.

A green vegetable that comes into florets, which may resemble miniature trees.

You can enjoy them raw with a dip, Yogurt Feta Sauce, or steamed.

Roasted broccoli with olive oil and seasoning. Make excellent soups.

All in all a great vegetable to enjoy.

With this recipe, I used the stalk as well. Slice them to cook evenly. They are full of flavor.

Here are a few helpful tips for the ingredients needed to create this recipe

You can find the printable recipe with all the correct ingredient amounts at the bottom of this post. Besides the staple salt and pepper, you will need:

Unsalted butter: My favorite in my kitchen as it never changes the flavor of my food by oversalting it. 

Garlic: Crushed to infuse your cream with all the natural oils that it contains. Please do not add more than the recipe requires, as it will overpower this delicate sauce. 

Broccoli: When you purchase your broccoli, ensure each floret is a bright green color. Use the florets and the stalks that you will slice and dice. 

Heavy cream: Gives richness and smoothness to the sauce. Follow the below instructions when adding it to your pan. 

Lemon: Lemon zest gives the natural essential oil to this dish. The lemon juice adds a depth of flavor to it. 

Rigatoni pasta: wide tubular pasta that is excellent with sauces. The inner tube collects all the juices, perfect once you bite into it. Penne can be a replacement, as well as ziti.

Pecorino Cheese: The pecorino gives a great bite to this dish. Of course, you can use Parmigiano if you have that on hand.

Equipment needed 

 I only recommend what I use and love. Therefore to achieve this recipe, I used the following:

Large pot for boiling the water to cook your pasta

Le Creuset Braiser to prepare your broccoli and add the pasta and finish preparing your broccoli sauce


Colander to drain your pasta

Cheese Grater we all need a great grater in our cooking arsenal

broccoli with lemon rigatoni

Cooking tips and step by step to create this excellent broccoli with lemon rigatoni recipe.

Cooking the florets with the pasta at the end of the cooking process will soften them and give extra flavor to the pasta.

  • Do cook the pasta al dente and drain it one minute before the package cooking instructions. Remember you will have to add them to the broccoli stalks and cream, which will finish the cooking process.
  • Make sure that the water is nicely salted while you cook your pasta.
  • Do save a cup of the cooking water. You may and may not use it, but if your pasta gets too dry, it will be of great use.
  • Have all your ingredients ready at cook time as this dish will be prepared relatively fast.
  • When you mix lemon and heavy cream, the ladder breaks and loses the creamy liquid form. Add them both on the opposite sides of the pan and at low heat.
  • The low heat will allow them both not to have a heat shock. Stirring them together gently will ensure that the two combine beautifully and are creamy.
broccoli with lemon rigatoni

We are huge fans of rigatoni in the family. However, penne, paccheri, or any tubular store-bought pasta will work wonderfully with this recipe.

You want the sauce to get in the inside of the pasta.

Add some red pepper flakes to your sauce if you want to kick it up a notch..

Frequently Asked Questions

What is pasta al “dente”?

Al dente means to cook the pasta to the bite. Overcooked pasta turns into mush, which is neither fun nor good.

In Italy, the pasta is always at “dente”, contrary to American or French standards.

However, because of the sauces that accompany the pasta, the cooking process continues on, thus making it perfect for enjoying once served.

Leftovers? How do I warm them up?

If you have some, no problem, warm the leftovers with a bit of water, a tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over the medium-low stove, and stir to make sure each rigatoni pasta is well warmed.

I do not have a microwave in the house, thus cannot give you those instructions. Just be careful not to burn yourself when taking them to eat.

broccoli with lemon rigatoni

How to serve  this beautiful dish to your family and guests

When you warm and combine the cooked pasta with the lemon cream sauce, use a pretty pan that can go from stovetop to table.

Use a trivet. I made that mistake one time, too many.

As you know, in Italy, there is a saying: You wait for the pasta. Pasta does not wait for you.

Ensure everyone is ready to sit at the table when you are ready to serve this dish.

Pasta continues to cook even though it is out of the cooking water, thus becoming overcooked the longer it has to wait to be enjoyed.

I like serving my past on pasta dishes with loads of cheese.

Add a few small slices of lemon to each dish to give it that fancy restaurant look.

Most importantly, do not forget to load it up with cheese. I use pecorino as it has a sharp edge, and we all love it.

Of course, Parmesan cheese is the perfect substitute for it.


Broccoli with Lemon Rigatoni

5 from 14 votes
broccoli with lemon rigatoni
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
This creamy lemon broccoli pasta recipe is not only deliciously creamy, the best part of this recipe is ready to be served at your table in less than 20 minutes. That, to me, is a bonus.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ pound broccoli
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lemon, zest + juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • ½ cup pecorino cheese


  • Separate the stalks and the florets. Split in half the stalk and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Boil for 8 minutes or until very almost cooked through, then add the broccoli florets. Cook until the broccoli is tender, and the pasta is cooked. Reserve 1 cup of the boiling water and drain the pasta.
  • Meanwhile, in a large pan, melt butter and add the garlic and broccoli stems and cook for a few minutes over medium-high heat. . Pour the cream, lemon juice, and zest. Season to taste. Allow simmering for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  • Add the drained pasta and broccoli into the sauce and add a splash of the cooking water. Toss to coat in sauce, adding more pasta water if necessary.
  • Add a generous amount of grated cheese, toss, and serve.


Calories: 754kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 525mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1455IU | Vitamin C: 66mg | Calcium: 232mg | Iron: 2mg

Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

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Originally published on October 11, 2020. Updated on March 13, 2022