Simple Provisions

Food does not need to be fancy to be celebrated

Pasta with Broccoli and Bacon Sauce | Simple Provisions

Having a packet or two of fancy, dried pasta in the pantry is a lovely way to make an old favourite sauce more interesting. If I’m in an Italian deli or a good market and come across some interesting dried pasta shapes, I’ll pick a couple I haven’t tried before and store them away, ready to make a Tuesday quickie dinner less boring.

This week I found a packet of maccheroni al ferro, a hand-rolled, tube-like pasta that does a great job of gripping onto sauce with it’s rolled edge. Pesto would go well with it, but my basil plant did not survive a late frost last week, making the promise of fragrant, summery pasta a little farther away. Instead I paired the maccheroni with a more seasonally appropriate mix of broccoli and bacon.

Pasta with Broccoli and Bacon Sauce | Simple Provisions

This recipe calls for a seemingly unlikely pairing of broccoli and milk. Do not let this combination put you off. When cooked down together they form a creamy, pesto-like texture, the grainy broccoli florets melting into the sauce that also features hits of salty pork. Parmesan and pasta water help smooth it all out, forming a creamy green sauce that coats the pasta beautifully.

Cooking broccoli in a big pot of boiling water that you’ll reuse to cook the pasta saves energy and time. It also means you can turn that broccoli into sauce with the milk and bacon while the pasta is cooking, resulting in a perfectly timed union of drained pasta and creamy sauce. A sprinkle of chilli and a grating of parmesan will finish off the dish, making a delightful mid-week, slightly fancy pasta meal.

Pasta with Broccoli and Bacon Sauce

Serves 6


  • 500g (1 lb 2 oz) broccoli, florets removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 60g (2 1/2 oz) bacon, finely chopped
  • 200ml (7 fl oz) milk
  • 500g (1 lb 2 oz) pasta (any pasta that holds onto sauce, like orecchiette or ridged rigatoni)
  • 60g (2 1/4 oz / 1/2 cup) finely grated parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
  • A few pinches of chilli flakes (optional)


Wash the broccoli and cut into florets. Boil in a large saucepan of salted water for 12-15 minutes until soft. Remove the broccoli when done and reserve the water to cook the pasta in.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil and fry the bacon for 3-4 minutes, then add the broccoli. Stir a little then add the milk. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, breaking up the broccoli with the back of the spoon as you go. The sauce will end up a milky green colour and quite thick.

Cook the pasta in the saucepan and water you used for the broccoli. Before draining, reserve some pasta water, then drain and return the pasta to the pot. Add the broccoli sauce and parmesan, stirring to combine and season with salt and pepper. Spoon in enough pasta water to loosen the sauce to help it cover the pasta evenly and create a creamy texture.

Serve with extra parmesan grated over the top. Add chilli flakes if you’d like some extra punch.

Recipe from the beautiful Rosa’s Farm by Rosa Mitchell, a cookbook I got for my birthday and haven’t stopped cooking from since.

40 thoughts on “Pasta with Broccoli and Bacon Sauce

  1. juliecrombe says:

    That looks delicious! I want to try this out!
    Please visit my blog and let’s follow each other!

    1. Amelia says:

      Thanks Julie. Your blog looks lovely.

  2. KerryCan says:

    Jeepers–that looks great! I so love pasta . . . thanks!

    1. Amelia says:

      You’re welcome.

  3. Oh yum! That looks fab and would be such a great mid week dinner. Bookmarking this one for sure! It would also be good cold for lunch I think

    1. Amelia says:

      I didn’t have enough left over for lunch, so can’t tell you. I have a serious weakness when it comes to pasta, I have to eat it ALL! ;)

  4. AnnaL says:

    Yummo. That is dinner sorted for tonight. Thanks!

    1. Amelia says:

      I hope you enjoy it!

  5. niamhsnote says:

    Delicious – a definite for a Tuesday evening in the winter – mental note made for carb-tastic dinner next week

    1. Amelia says:

      It’s carb heaven!

  6. Looks great! I like how you cooked the pasta in the broccoli water. And bacon is always a nice touch! ;)

    1. Amelia says:

      Bacon makes most things better Priscilla.

  7. This pasta looks delicious! I love the idea of a broccoli sauce – tasty and healthy! Gorgeous pictures too!

  8. ZaCook says:

    Heavy mouth watering! :D

  9. I’m salivating/drooling here also! I will make this dish!! Thanks!

  10. I love pasta, I love broccoli, I love bacon :-) Know what I’m cooking tomorrow :-)

    1. Amelia says:

      I hope you enjoyed it!

  11. Yum!! I have never thought of using broccoli as a pesto substitute but this looks great, will definitely try it out!

  12. Saskia (1=2) says:

    Man you take a good photo Amelia. These are perfection. I’ve pinned this recipe to try it later – anything with bacon in it gets my vote :)
    Very intrigued about the addition of milk – sounds like a lovely light change from cream; and I love that it makes for a recipe where I have everything to hand.

    1. Amelia says:

      You are too kind lovely Saskia. x

  13. This looks delicious! Looking forward to trying it!

  14. Mimi and Sue says:

    I bet this is delicious. Broccoli and milk? Sounds fine to me since I love cream of broccoli soup. Its really astonishing what you can do with good vegetables and pasta. Thanks I’m going to try this.

  15. Susan says:

    I’m the same way with fun and unusual pasta shapes. I have a bag of gemelli waiting for a sauce with anchovies and fennel. Also, I love your photos! Lovely colors and textures.

  16. Iris says:

    This sounds well yummy. I absolutely adore pasta but I sometimes find myself eating it every day of the week, might be a bit much. :(

  17. fromaptone says:

    All of my favorite things in one dish, amazing! I’ll be making this over the next few days.

  18. Everything is better with bacon!

  19. This looks delicious, definitely going to try it out!

  20. This one works out great – like so many of your dishes, so much more delicious than its simplicity would imply. I was having a vegetarian day so swapped the bacon for garlic, and still tasted great (though I suspect bacon would be even better).

    1. Amelia says:

      Glad to hear it Jane.

  21. what a corking recipe…..looks great!!!!!! beautiful blog also…..

  22. Chris says:

    I had 4 strips of leftover bacon and some fresh broccoli that was going limp. I wondered what I could make and found this recipe. The milk did worry me but then I remembered I also had leftover half & half. I used 1/2 that and 1/2 2% milk with Pecorino Romano cheese. LOVED IT! Even my boys – who don’t normally do cream sauce – couldn’t get enough. We have a new regular dinner dish. Thank you!!!

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