Broccoli & Pancetta Pasta

This Broccoli and Pancetta Pasta is quick, easy, delicious and contains one serving of veg. Pancetta might sound posh, but the dish is a mere 75p a serving* and under 600 calories. It's comforting, filling and I've yet to find an adult or child to turn their nose up to it.

Broccoli and pancetta pasta. Make it once and you'll make it every week.

Broccoli and pancetta pasta. Make it once and you'll make it every week.

This recipe is inspired by broccoli pasta from the lovely ladies at crumbs (check out their You Tube channel for more easy family recipes). I stumbled on their broccoli pasta recipe over a year ago and I've been making it regularly since. "But where's the meat?" said Mr K, and so it evolved into this. 

Broccoli is just coming into season so it's the perfect time to get making this. Frozen broccoli works just as well though, it all gets mashed up anyway. Sprinkle with chilli flakes for grown ups, and whatever cheese you have in the fridge to serve. It's a hug in a bowl.


Broccoli & Pancetta Pasta: 

  • Makes: 4 adult servings
  • Time:  15 minutes start to finish
  • Cost:  75p per serving
  • Calories:  575 per serving

Ingredients:

  • 130g cubed pancetta (or smoked bacon)
  • 400g fusilli pasta twists (I find this shape is the best for holding the sauce)
  • 400g (one large head) broccoli, quartered (or frozen broccoli)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 75g low fat cream cheese or crème fraîche (two generous tablespoons)
  • Parmesan cheese, or cheddar and chilli flakes to serve (optional) 

Instructions:

  1. Start by cooking the pancetta. Place in a cold frying pan and gradually bring increase the heat. This way the fat will melt away and you will be able to drain it off to be more healthy, as it is pretty fatty. This will take around 15 minutes, so start cooking the pasta and broccoli after about 5 minutes and everything should be ready at the same time. If you're using bacon, grill it or fry it until crispy and snip it into strips with scissors.
  2. Fill a large pan with water, add salt and bring to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and broccoli and cook until the pasta is al dente, which should take around 8-10 minutes.
  3. Drain the pasta and broccoli, reserving a little of the cooking water. Place the pan back on the hob and heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. 
  4. Fish the broccoli florettes out of the pasta and place them in the pan with the garlic. Use a potato masher to mash up the broccoli to a rough paste. Add the cream cheese or crème fraîche and mash again until well combined. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any broccoli bits off your masher.
  5. Blot the cooked pancetta on kitchen paper to remove any excess fat and add to the mashed broccoli along with the cooked pasta. Give everything a really good stir using a splash of the cooking water from the pasta to loosen it if necessary. Serve immediately topped with grated cheese and chilli flakes if you like. Enjoy!