A large skillet of broccoli and cavatelli, ready to be served.

Sauteed Broccoli and Cavatelli Recipe

Sauteing garlic in olive oil is a humble starting point to so many classic Italian dishes. Adding broccoli and cavatelli transforms these simple ingredients into the ultimate Southern Italian comfort food. The combination of crisp-tender broccoli & toothsome cavatelli is quick to make & will leave you wanting more.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword cavatelli and broccoli, how to make cavatelli with broccoli
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 667kcal
Author Maria Vannelli RD


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • 3-4 fillets anchovy
  • pinch red pepper flakes optional
  • 4 stalks broccoli including stalk, trimmed and chopped about 4-5 cups
  • 1 pound cavatelli pasta I use half of my homemade cavatelli recipe
  • 1-2 cups reserved pasta water
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
  • Pecorino Romano cheese to taste


  • Over high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. 
  • While waiting for the water to boil, trim and cut up the stems and head of the broccoli. Rinse and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, over medium-low heat, heat about 6 tablespoons of olive oil. 
  • Sauté about 5-6 minced garlic for a 1-2 minutes. 
  • Add the anchovies and mash them together with a fork or the back of a spoon into a smooth paste.
  • If using, add red pepper flakes.
  • Add bite sized broccoli to the pan and saute for a 5-8 of minutes until crisp-tender.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente or to desired consistency. 
  • Transfer about 1 cup of the pasta water to the broccoli to help stream the broccoli. Increase the heat to medium. Broccoli should be crisp tender. Make sure to taste so that you have the right texture.
  • When the cavatelli float to the top, taste one to make sure they are al dente (they will continue to cook with the broccoli). 
  • Remove cavatelli with a slotted spoon and add to the pan with broccoli. If mixture appears dry, add some more pasta water (I will usually add another ladle or so of pasta water; increase the heat and mix the whole thing together for a few minutes until the water is almost evaporated). Taste to make sure everything is cooked right.
  • Top with extra cheese and a drizzle of olive oil, if using.
  • Serve immediately.


Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is just a rough estimate and variations can occur depending on the specific ingredients used. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 667kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 60mg | Potassium: 756mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 940IU | Vitamin C: 135.9mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 2.9mg