This 5-ingredient creamy romanesco pasta is a beautifully simple and delicious Italian pasta recipe ready in 20 minutes!
This romanesco pasta is one of those easy Italian pasta recipes I grew up with in Sicily and I still make it on a weekly basis!
It comes together in just 20 minutes and calls for 5 pantry-friendly basic ingredients. I mean, what´s not to love?
The creamy romanesco sauce is whipped up with simple vegetables and a little broth, and you can easily keep it vegan by swapping the Parmesan cheese with a plant-based cheese.
I promise this hearty pasta with romanesco is one of those comforting dishes that always pleases everyone, adults and even children (my little one loves it!).
What is Romanesco?
The unique-looking romanesco broccoli goes by different names including Roman cauliflower or broccoflower.
Despite its name, romanesco doesn't have much in common with broccoli.
This gorgeous veggie is part of the brassica family (along with cauliflower and cabbage), therefore it's more related to cauliflower than broccoli.
It originates from the Lazio region in Italy (which is home to Rome), where it's widely grown and harvested during the fall and winter seasons.
Romanesco has a texture similar to cauliflower, but it's slightly crunchier with a delicious nutty flavor.
You can eat it raw or cooked in a variety of ways, very similar to broccoli or cauliflower.
Pasta with Romanesco Ingredients
To make this Italian romanesco pasta recipe you need 5 simple ingredients you'll probably have in your pantry already:
- Pasta: use your favorite short pasta! Ditali, shells, mafaldine, mezze maniche, rigatoni all work well.
- Romanesco: you can use fresh romanesco broccoli if it's in season (fall-winter), or frozen romanesco all year round.
- Leek: I like to use a finely chopped leek for this recipe, onions or shallots work great too.
- Potato: a medium-small floury potato adds creaminess to the romanesco sauce with no need to add fresh cream or butter.
- Vegetable stock: use homemade vegetable broth, high-quality store-bought broth, or simply use hot water.
- Cheese: You can use parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano), Grana Padano cheese or pecorino romano to flavor up your pasta.
Chef's extra toppings:
Whilst this pasta is delicious and simple as it is, feel free to include these toppings for extra flavor:
- Red pepper flakes: for a nice spicy kick!
- Lemon zest: for a super welcome citrusy note.
- Toasted hazelnut: it pairs super well with the nutty romanesco flavor.
Romanesco Pasta Recipe
This creamy pasta with romanesco broccoli is super easy to make, and ready in about 20 minutes and four simple steps:
Scroll down until the end of the post for the full printable recipe.
STEP 1. Saute the romanesco.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the vegetables, and saute for 5 minutes.
STEP 2. Blend into a sauce.
Pour a cup of hot water or broth in, cover, and bring to a boil.
Cook for 5 minutes, then transfer into a blender and blend until smooth.
Chef tip: keep a cup of hot stock aside, in case you need to add it to the sauce for the creamiest result.
STEP 3. Cook the pasta.
In a large pot of boiling water cook the pasta al dente, drain, and add it to the skillet with romanesco followed by the romanesco sauce.
STEP 4. Season and serve.
Season the pasta with grated Parmesan and freshly-grated pepper, mix thoroughly, and serve.
Store the leftover pasta in an airtight container, it will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 days.
More Italian Pasta Recipes To Try
- Pasta with Peas (Pasta e Piselli)
- Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Pasta
- Pasta with Parmigiano Reggiano Sauce and Wild Mushrooms
- Shiitake Mushroom Pasta
- Traditional Italian Pasta e Fagioli
- Italian Chickpea Soup (Pasta e ceci)
- Sicilian Pasta alla Norma
DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook!
- 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 leek, finely sliced
- 1 medium potato, peeled and finely cubed
- 1 head romanesco broccoli, cut into florets (about 3 pounds romanesco or 8 cups florets)
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1+½ cups vegetable stock, or chicken stock
- 3 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, optional
- 10 oz short pasta (such as ditali, shells, or mezzi rigatoni)
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leek and potato, followed by the romanesco florets. Sauté all the vegetables for 5 minutes, then add 1 cup of vegetable stock, cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
- Season with a generous pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste, remove the lid and cook until the romanesco has slightly softened, then turn the heat off.
- Transfer ⅔ of the vegetables and all the stock into a blender. Add 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese and blend until smooth, adding more stock if necessary.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain the pasta and transfer it into the skillet with the sauteed vegetables.
- Add the romanesco pasta sauce and mix all the ingredients together. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top, season with the remaining parmesan cheese, and freshly-cracked black pepper and serve.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.