Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato and Broccoli Pasta

Spicy sun-dried tomato and broccoli pasta

Had I typed up this post on Monday as intended, it would have been full of rants and whines. “How come cars don’t always turn on when we need them to?” I would have asked. “Why do little brothers have to make big mistakes, and will that giant pile of dirty laundry just wash itself already?!”

While we’re playing this game, why can’t I live in a world where days expand to fit workloads, and first dates are better than awkward? Rant, rant, rant.

broccoli pasta salad

Fortunately, I got all of that out of my system in conversations with friends and family. What I am left with is a deep sense of gratitude. I’m so lucky to have good friends that I can always call on for help (as much as I don’t want to ask). I’m also thankful for parents who empathize rather than chastise.

If you must know, here’s what happened: I might have (maybe) ignored my low gas warning light (for a little too long) and run out of gas without knowing it… so when I went to move my car, it wouldn’t budge from its rather unfortunate parking spot. My car got towed while I was on the phone with AAA. May Monday go down in history as the day I spent $200 on a tank of gas.

broccoli bow-tie pasta

I also owe a big thank you to you, dear readers. Thank you for coming to my little corner of the web. Your visits and comments never go unappreciated and I am perpetually astonished that you cook this dummy’s recipes. Your encouraging words are all the motivation I need to keep on blogging. Furthermore, your visits and those not-so-cute ads in the sidebar helped me pay for that unexpected expense out of pocket. It’s not much, but making money doing what I love to do is a gift. So thanks for bailing me out, friends! Your support means the world to me.

broccoli, sun-dried tomato and goat cheese pasta

Now that the car fiasco is behind us, let’s talk about this recipe. It called my name the first time I flipped through Susie Middleton’s The Fresh & Green Table. The words “spicy” and “garlicky” caught my attention, but what really captured it is the cooking method. She quickly infuses olive oil with red pepper flakes and garlic, reserving it to toss with crisp, cooked broccoli at the end. It’s also rather creamy without being loaded with heavy cream since goat cheese melts into a rich sauce when mixed with warm pasta and leftover cooking water. Genius, right?

Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato and Broccoli Pasta
4.8 from 11 reviews
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Simple and flavorful, this pasta is made with toasty broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, creamy goat cheese and garlicky red pepper-infused olive oil.
  • ½ pound dried whole wheat bow-tie or spiral-shaped pasta
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if necessary
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (around 5 garlic cloves)
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1½ pound broccoli (about 4 medium, tightly packed florets), chopped into small, bite-sized pieces
  • Sea salt or kosher salt
  • ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2 to 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled while still cold (around ½ cup)
  • ⅓ cup coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (or Parmesan)
  • 15 pitted kalamata olives, chopped (optional)
  • ½ small lemon, juiced
  • optional add-ins: 2 cups or 1 can cooked chickpeas, drained, and/or a couple handfuls of baby arugula (great with leftovers)
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place a colander in the sink with a glass liquid measuring cup or heat-safe bowl next to it. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, as directed on the package instructions. Remove the pot from heat and ladle/pour about 1 cup of the pasta water in the glass measuring cup. Drain the pasta in the colander and let it rest, covered loosely with a pot lid or plate.
  2. Place a small, heat-safe bowl near the stove. In a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. When the oil is hot, add the red pepper flakes and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic begins to simmer. Cook for about 30 seconds more to infuse the oil with spicy, garlicky flavor, but do not let the garlic brown. Pour and scrape the seasoned oil into the heatproof bowl and set aside. Wipe out the pan with a clean kitchen rag or paper towel.
  3. Return the pan to the stove. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium-low until shimmering. Add the broccoli and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli has shrunk to a single layer in the pan and turned bright green, and most have some browning on them (about ten minutes). Don't quit cooking prematurely here; you want the broccoli to be nice and toasty.
  4. Get out the pan's lid or a cookie sheet and keep it handy. Add the sun-dried tomatoes to the pan. Measure out ⅓ cup pasta water (keep the rest for later) and pour it into the pan. Cover the pan with your lid or cookie sheet and continue cooking until the water has simmered down to almost nothing, about 15 to 30 seconds. Uncover and remove the pan from heat.
  5. Add the drained pasta to the pan and drizzle in all of the infused oil. Give it a stir, then add the goat cheese and most of the Parmigiano. Stir until everything is well distributed. Add another 1 to 2 tablespoons pasta water, the chopped olives and lemon juice, and stir until the goat cheese loosens up and gets creamier. Season to taste with salt and add a tablespoon more pasta water or additional goat cheese if you'd like it to be more creamy. If it seems dry at all, add a little splash of olive oil and mix well. Mix in the chickpeas and/or arugula, if using.
  6. Serve right away, garnished with the remaining Parmigiano.
  • Adapted from The Fresh & Green Table by Susie Middleton.
  • This pasta keeps well in the fridge for a few days. I treated leftovers like pasta salad, serving them cold with arugula and an extra squeeze of lemon juice.

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  1. says

    This pasta sound perfect for early fall. I love the idea of combining intense sun-dried tomato flavor with the bite of broccoli. I may even oven-roast some of our own cherry tomatoes and try them out here! :)

  2. says

    This sounds delicious, wonderful. I am also a sucker for spicy anything. Your car woes, not so delicious or wonderful. I’ve made the same, silly mistake – and it really sucked at the time (finals!) but there’s always a takeaway, right? Sounds like you found yours as well. :)

  3. says

    This makes me want to eat broccoli again, and I thought I was soooo bored of broccoli. Would another cheese other than goat cheese work? That isn’t something I have on hand regularly. Your blog is great and you don’t seem like a dummy at all.

  4. says

    This looks incredible. I seriously LOVE pasta and could eat a dish like this every single day! I love infusing olive oil with red pepper flakes and/or garlic for dishes like this.
    BTW your photos are absolute perfection!

  5. Ms. Morgan Leigh says

    Susie Middleton is my favorite. Her recipes always turn out well. I love how she does simple things or adds interesting (but common) ingredients that produce unexpected results.

  6. Grace says

    Your recipes are so consistently spectacular. Thank you for continually sharing your talent with the rest of us! My boss just came into my office to round us up for lunch and asked me what I was looking at and I simply replied “what I’m making for dinner.” This looks so tasty!

  7. Jenna says

    Hearing about other people’s bad days makes my bad days just a little bit better! I appreciate hearing your rants and your recipes! This looks yummy.

  8. says

    it is our pleasure to pay your website a visit because it is one of the best food blogs out there. delicious and healthy food written and shared with passion by a sweet person!

  9. says

    Oh you poor thing! I did exactly the same thing a few years ago.. When the AA man arrived I said ‘I bet you get this kind of thing all the time’. He just raised an eyebrow and looked at me like I was the stupidest person alive! :-)

    • says

      Ha! The AAA guy must have been in a grouchy mood—I have no doubt he sees dumb stuff all day long! I’ll never ignore that gas warning light again…

  10. says

    At least your car was in the NICEST impound lot this side of the Mississippi! Who knew! Maybe you should have bribed the tow truck operator with this spicy garlicky broccoli. I bet he would have changed his mind. Mmmm.

  11. says

    This is the kind of dinner I can’t resist. Browned veggies: check. Lots of garlic: check. My favorite food of all time (sun-dried tomatoes): check.

    Also, one day I’ll tell you about the time someone stole my car battery and I couldn’t understand what had happened. That’s being a dummy for you.

  12. Belinda says

    I love your recipes, Kate! I found you on pasplore.com. It’s been wonderful finding people that like to make food that I like to copy! I just don’t love goat cheese. What do you suggest?

  13. says

    Oy! Sorry to hear about the car troubles – I am sure I’m due for one of those situations…I feel like I always wait until the very last minute to get gas…Lesson learned! And this pasta looks delicious! I’ve been craving all sorts of spicy carbs lately!

  14. michelle says

    hi kate
    sorry you had a rough day– just wanted to tell you- I visit your blog weekly when I have to get my mind off of my own journey. ~and I enjoy your blog very much!love the recipes!

  15. says

    I’m going to make this this afternoon but I’m going to make it with asparagus, hope that’s ok with you. What other cheeses do you suggest that crumble well besides feta?

    oh! p.s. because of this post I went through the rest of your blog… I feel mildly like a creep, I’m sorry.

    • says

      Hey Amanda, I’m sorry, I don’t know which other crumbly cheese to suggest! Maybe try ricotta, cream cheese/mascarpone or farmer’s cheese.

  16. Michele says

    Thank you for this recipe- I just made it, late Sunday night. I read it and knew I would love it so much I went ahead and doubled it! My husband and I will eat on it all week- I wonder if it freezes well?
    Now I can’t wait till dinner tomorrow!
    It is so flavorful. I can’t stop picking at it.

    • says

      Happy to hear it, Michele! I haven’t tried freezing this one, but if you do, please let me know how it is once it’s defrosted! Something tells me it won’t last long enough to make it into the freezer. :)

  17. says

    You’re not a dummy! I’ll tell you who is: the guy with the California license plate that said LILDUMY. Now Tommy and I like to call each other that as a joke. Friends and fam are the best and I’ll always be a fan of your blog.

  18. Carolyn says

    I made this as a cold lunch for a camping trip this past weekend and everyone liked it! I tried to cut out the diary for the vegan in our group by mixing in nutritional yeast instead of the cheeses and it turned out ok but not creamy like the rest of the batch. How would you go about veganizing this? I was thinking maybe tofutti cream cheese? hmmm….

  19. Heather says

    I made this for dinner last night and it was AMAZING! My husband is not a big fan of pasta, but he loved this. I’m on an alkaline diet for medical reasons, so I used brown rice pasta and omitted the parmesan. I also added pine nuts to make up for the loss of parmesan and it came out great! Thanks a bunch!

  20. Jess says

    Can I put in your recipe in myfitnesspal’s database? I have made sure to put in the author name in the description. I was initially entering the recipe to calculate the no of calories and there was a question about whether it would be ok to upload it into the database? do let me know. Thanks!

    • says

      Jess, I’m sorry for the delayed response and thank you for asking. If it’s just the ingredients list that would be uploaded, that would be fine.

      • Jess says

        I put in just the ingredients list, titled it:Cookie+Kate’s blog: Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato and Broccoli Pasta. And in the instructions box, I put a link to the recipe at your blog. :)

        • says

          I couldn’t find the nutritional content on My Fitness Pal. Any chance you could post the nutrition info here, Jess? Or email it to me? robbmajor (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

          • Jess says

            I guess it takes some time to make it into the database? Anyway, here’s the info:-
            Serving size:4
            Calories Carbs Fat Protein
            Total: 1243 101 85 29
            Per Serving: 311 25 21 7

          • Jess says

            Btw, I used only 3 tbsp of olive oil and did not add any parmesan. I did add the olives and arugula to the recipe.

  21. Jeni says

    Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe! We loved it so much we made it twice in the same week. Great combination of flavors and spiciness. I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  22. esther says

    I love your website and your recipes! Just wondering where you find whole wheat bow tie pasta? I’ve been eating whole wheat pasta for a while, but have yet to find them in bow tie shapes.

    • says

      Hi Esther, I may have found the whole wheat bow tie pasta at Whole Foods. I consider myself a whole wheat pasta collector of sorts; I’m always buying up cool shapes when I find them.

  23. Diana says

    UH-mazing! Just made this tonight an it was perfect for a cold, lazy Sunday. The husband didn’t even mind that there was no meat in it! Thank you for the recipe. I just found your site this weekend and have already made the pecan butter and now this. I have the blueberry muffins set to make New Year’s morning.

    • says

      Thanks for commenting, Diana! I’m so glad your family enjoyed this pasta dish. I wish I had the ingredients to make it for lunch today. Please do let me know how my other recipes turn out for you!

  24. says

    I used your recipe as inspiration tonight–followed it pretty closely, except I didn’t measure anything and added some of my own twists. I did take your suggestion of adding chickpeas, which was a lovely compliment! :]

    • says

      Thanks for commenting, Traci! Glad your meal turned out well. I’m a big fan of improvisation and not measuring when I’m not cooking for the blog!

  25. lacey says

    Just wanted to let you know that this dish was a hit. I’m vegetarian; my son isn’t, but he liked it too. I added walnuts to get a little protein. They complimented the dish well.

  26. Elinor says

    I love the unexpected kick this pasta has. And this is a lovely way to cook veggies while still preserving their crisp freshness. Makes excellent leftovers, too! Thanks for all the great weeknight-friendly recipes.

  27. says

    Just wanted to say that this is my partner and my favourite pasta recipe and my probably my partner’s favourite recipe in general. It is so good! We always make it with chickpeas and it fills us up so well. I love how many ingredients there are in the dish so you don’t have to use too much pasta. Everyone I make this for absolutely loves it. Thanks for introducing it to us!

  28. Elza says

    Made this for my dinner today and… Well, I can’t describe how good it tasted. I used feta (didn’t have goat cheese) and it was still delicious. I’m vegetarian, but my dad believes that it’s better to eat poison than no meat for dinner, but… He said that perhaps I could make it for all family one day. Umh, I’m still not sure it’s possible… Wow.
    Thank you. :)

  29. Reese says

    I made your dish this evening for my family and they absolutely LOVED IT!!! There were so many flavors that blended together perfectly in this meal. My 15-year-old said “I don’t like olives”, but she ate every bite on her plate. I loved that you included so many healthy veggies for little ones to enjoy. I will be making this again.

  30. Julie says

    I just made this and thought it was very good. I forgot to buy a lemon, but will try that next time. The sun-dried tomatoes really lift this above the usual. And of course, so does the goat cheese! I am looking forward to the leftovers for lunch! Thank you.

  31. Alanna says

    I’m not a fan of goat cheese, so I was going to leave it out altogether, then decided last minute to whip up some cashew cream instead (1/2c raw cashews, 1/4c water, pinch salt blended until creamy) to give it that creamy consistency that I would me missing out on had I left out the cheese, and HOLY COW, it was like vegan Alfredo with a sun dried tomato “kick” to it.

    We also used brown rice pasta instead of whole wheat and find that it more closely resembles the texture and taste of regular pasta.

    Just thought I’d give my two cents for any vegans out there! I’m not vegan, so I added a pinch of parmesan to the finished product, but could have definitely left it out. Making it again tonight!

  32. Deepthi says

    Hey Kate,

    Made this for dinner last night. It was really tasty, I was just not a fan of goat-cheese in this dish. I think feta would’ve worked better.

    Still a satisfying, healthy and quick weeknight dinner and great for leftovers lunch.


  33. Catarina says

    I’ve made this dish several times and it turned out great every time. It has become one of my go-to dishes for week dinners.
    Next time I’m post a picture in instagram ;)

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