This recipe for Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli features a lightened up flavorful Alfredo sauce with tender broccoli florets and balsamic sautéed mushrooms. This pasta Alfredo with Broccoli and Mushrooms a delicious meatless meal if you’re a vegetarian or maybe you’re looking for a great recipe for Meatless Monday. You’ll love how easy this pasta Alfredo recipe is to make!
Making this Alfredo with Broccoli and Mushrooms
We made this recipe for Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli and Mushrooms a lot back when we had broccoli growing in our garden. I loved that it tasted like a nice Italian meal, but it was really simple to put together.
This Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli and Mushrooms doesn’t contain any fancy ingredients, just good quality basics that most people probably have on hand.
I always substitute half and half for cream in Alfredo sauces. I don’t like eating super heavy feeling meals and this lightens it up while maintaining that creaminess. You don’t even notice the missing calories.
I have been experimenting with whole wheat pasta to try to find a brand we like the best. I can’t remember which I used with this recipe. Do you have a favorite?
It’s not health food, but this Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli and Mushrooms is a lightened version of a favorite and with the added vegetables and whole wheat pasta it feels a little less indulgent.
What is in this Alfredo with Broccoli Recipe?
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Olive Oil
- Fresh Broccoli Florets
- Half and Half
- Heavy Cream
- Unsalted Butter
- Parmesan Cheese
- Black Pepper
For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.
How to Make Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli
First, you’re going to sauté the mushrooms in olive oil with the balsamic vinegar.
Then, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente according to package directions. Add the chopped broccoli florets to the pasta water in the last 2 minutes of the pasta cooking time.
While the pasta cooks, melt butter with the half and half in a large skillet. When it the butter has melted and the mixture is simmering, add the drained pasta and broccoli.
After that, stir in the heavy cream, parmesan, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook just until the sauce has thickened. Season with additional salt if desired and serve immediately.
The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.
Creamy Homemade Alfredo Sauce Recipe FAQ
Have a question about making this recipe for Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli? Here are some answers to commonly asked questions:
How Do You Make Alfredo Sauce Less Thick?
You can easily thin a cream sauce if the recipe cooks thicker than your liking, or because tacky once slightly cooled. Here’s how:
Reserve some of the hot pasta water before you drain the pasta. Set it aside in case you need it. If you need to thin the alfredo sauce, stir in some of the reserved water before serving to loosen the sauce up a bit.
Can I Make a Lighter Alfredo Sauce?
Yes! This recipe for Alfredo sauce is already a tad lighter than traditional because it uses mostly half and half with a splash of heavy cream, but you can decrease the calories further if you’d like.
I have also tested this recipe substituting half and half in place of the heavy cream and this version also tastes delicious, but with slightly less calories.
What Pasta Can I Use Instead of Fettuccine for Alfredo?
Fettuccini noodles are traditionally used when serving Alfredo sauce (that’s why you’ll often see it called Fettuccine Alfredo), but penne is one of our favorite pasta shapes to use in this recipe. I love the way the sauce coats the pasta and the the tubes of penne end up filled with some of the sauce, too.
Feel free to choose your favorite noodles or shaped pasta when making this recipe. Fettuccine, Linguine, Penne, Farfalle (Bow Tie), and Rotini pasta are all great choices!
Can You Freeze this Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli?
If you’re freezing just the creamy Alfredo sauce, the answer is yes. Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and freeze it. Use within 3 months of freezing for best results.
Note that cream sauces can have a tendency to separate after thawing from frozen state, so you will need to heat the sauce stovetop and whisk it well to reincorporate.
Cornstarch will also help the sauce re-mix after separating. Make a slurry with 1/4 cup of water and 2-3 teaspoons of cornstarch and then whisk that into the sauce as you reheat it.
I don’t recommend freezing leftover pasta with the sauce on it. The sauce will separate and the reheated pasta will often come out mushy.
This great thing about this Alfredo sauce recipe is that it is incredibly versatile. Want to switch things up and make this pasta Alfredo recipe your own? Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Adding Protein to this Pasta Alfredo Recipe
In the summer, we love to marinate chicken tenders with some balsamic vinegar and homemade pesto sauce, then grill them and slice them up to serve on top of a bowl of this pasta.
You can also cut bite-size pieces of boneless skinless chicken breasts, toss them with garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, then brown them in a cast iron pan. After cooking, stir the tender chicken into the pasta with the sauce and veggies.
Sliced Italian Sausage is another great protein add in when making this pasta Alfredo recipe. You can grill the sausage or cook it in a skillet.
Grilled, sautéed, or roasted shrimp would be another great add on. Depending on your flavor preferences, you could season the shrimp with the same flavor profiles recommended above for the chicken or you could also season it with cajun blackening seasoning.
Try Switching Up the Veggies
The veggies in this recipe can easily be swapped out depending on what’s in season, what you have on hand, and personal preferences. Or you can leave the veggies out all together if you prefer.
Here are some ideas of other vegetables options that would go well in this recipe:
- Sun-dried Tomatoes
- Fresh Shelled Peas
- Zucchini or Yellow Summer Squash
What to Serve with Pasta Alfredo
This Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli is a pretty rich meal, so I don’t think you need a lot to go with it. Aside from a protein, we usually just serve a side salad. Here are some ideas:
Side Salads to Serve with Pasta Alfredo
- Copycat Olive Garden Salad
- Zucchini Tomato Basil Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
- Italian Mixed Greens Salad with Prosciutto and Lemon Dijion Vinaigrette
- Easy Side Salad (mixed greens, cucumber, shredded carrot, and tomato) with one of these 3 Simple Salad Dressing Recipes
Bread Recipes To Serve with Alfredo with Broccoli
If we are making this for a birthday meal or Logan is carb loading before a race I might also serve garlic bread alongside our Broccoli Alfredo Pasta. Here are a few favorite homemade bread recipes:
More Pasta Dishes
Looking for more easy pasta dishes? Here are a few that are popular with the whole family:
Italian Chicken, Mushroom, and Zucchini Skillet is a super easy dinner recipe for busy school nights. It features pan seared chicken tenderloins, zucchini and sliced mushrooms in garlicky herbed tomato sauce. Such an easy Chicken Skillet Recipe!
One Skillet Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce is the perfect, easy comforting pasta dish. Baking it in a single skillet makes for quick preparation and very minimal clean up. Perfect for a busy weeknight dinner!
This spicy Bow Tie Pasta with Sausage is made using a simple pasta formula that you can use to create your own pasta dishes in the future!
Arrabbiata Sauce is a simple, just-spicy-enough sauce you can make from pantry ingredients and serve with pasta – a great easy recipe when you need to get food on the dinner table fast.
Don’t see what you’re looking for here? You can always head over to check out the recipe index to look for more recipes.
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- 10 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups, approximately, broccoli florets
- 1 1/3 c half and half
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 5 Tbs butter
- 1 lb. pasta
- 1 c (2 oz.) fresh grated Parmesan
- ground black pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- In a medium saute pan, heat olive oil for sauteing, about a tablespoon.
- Add the mushrooms, balsamic vinegar.
- Add salt to taste, if desired.
- Saute until mushrooms are tender and have absorbed the vinegar. Set aside.
- Bring 4 quarts water to a rolling boil in a large pot.
- Add 1 Tbs salt and the pasta to the water. Stir to separate pasta.
- Cook pasta until almost al dente.
- Add the broccoli to the boiling water during the last 2 minutes of the pasta’s cooking time.
- Combine 1 1/3 c of the half and half and the butter in a saute pan large enough to accommodate the cooked pasta.
- Heat over low until the butter is melted and the cream comes to a bare simmer.
- Turn the heat off and set aside. (I found that this took the length of the time it took the pasta to cook, so I never turned it off and set it aside).
- Drain cooked pasta and broccoli and add it to the saute pan.
- Add the 1/3 c of whole milk, Parmesan, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Cook on very low heat, tossing to combine the ingredients, until sauce is slightly thick, 1-2 minutes.
- Serve immediately in heated pasta bowls.
adapted from The New Best Recipe by Cook's Illustrated
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 396Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 9gCarbohydrates 36gFiber 4gSugar 6gProtein 13g