This Bacon Broccoli Pasta Recipe is so easy and creamy and comes together in less than 30 minutes!
Penne Pasta with Bacon and Broccoli
I was heavily influenced by the tastebuds of my 7-year-old when I made this pasta the other night. As you may guess, a few of his favorite things include bacon, broccoli, and creamy pasta. I love these things too, but, you know what I love even more? Dinners that are quick and easy. Bonus points if the leftovers can be sent with him to school the next day.
This delicious bacon broccoli pasta gets all the bonus points.
And my child loved it so much he ate every last little onion left on his plate.
Spoiler alert: he does not usually like onions.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure that you’ll also love this easy weeknight dinner, too. It’s perfect creamy comfort food but isn’t so overwhelming that you feel sick after you’re done eating.
Before getting started, remember these important tips and notes:
- Feel free to cook your bacon and broccoli however you’d like. The instructions below are simply how I did it for this particular recipe.
- Bacon can be replaced with something else like chicken or shrimp. Yes, bacon is great, but if it isn’t for you then don’t add it.
- The same can be said for broccoli. I mean, I love it when broccoli florets soak up any kind of cream sauce, but if you don’t care for broccoli, try another veggie – like peas!
- Don’t forget to generously salt the pot of water that you will use to blanch your broccoli and cook your pasta.
- Also, don’t forget to reserve at least 1-2 cups of the pasta water before draining the pasta. It’s salty, it’s starchy, you can’t get it back once it’s down the sink.
Is Bacon Broccoli Pasta Good Leftover?
Yes. My family and I enjoyed this creamy pasta for two days after I initially cooked it. Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container until ready to reheat.
Since the pasta will absorb most of the liquid that remains as it cools, you may want to add a splash of chicken broth and half-and-half (or milk) to the pasta before reheating. Mid-way through reheating (in the microwave) mix to combine and continue cooking until heated through.
I hope you LOVE this easy bacon broccoli pasta recipe! It’s:
& so delicious!
Perfect any time of the year, I especially love serving this pasta with a small green salad or fruit salad.
Looking for more delicious pasta recipes? Try these reader favorites:
- Creamy Ham and Pea Pasta
- Creamy Buffalo Chicken Pasta Recipe
- Easy Pasta Primavera Recipe
- Penne Arrabbiata Recipe
- One-Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper
- Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe
Have you tried making this Creamy Bacon Broccoli Pasta Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Bacon Broccoli Pasta Recipe
- 1 pound bacon (chopped into small pieces)
- 2 tbsp reserved bacon grease
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 1 pound dry penne pasta (or another small pasta shape)
- 2 cup reserved pasta water
- ½ medium onion (minced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup half-and-half
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (I usually add at least 1 tablespoon of salt).
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large saucepan or Dutch oven set over medium to medium-high heat until cooked, crispy, and fat is rendered. Remove bacon from the pan using a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Drain the rendered fat from the pot, leaving about 2 tablespoons in the pot.
- Once the pot of water is boiling, add the broccoli florets and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove the broccoli from the pot using a slotted spoon and rinse the broccoli with cold water to stop it from cooking any further. Do not drain the water from the pot!
- Return the pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the dry pasta and cook 1-2 minutes less than al dente (about 6 minutes). Just before draining, reserve 1-2 cups of boiling pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta in a large colander.
- Return the saucepan with the reserved bacon fat to the stovetop and set it over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they are softened (about 4-5 minutes). Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds more
- Melt the butter with the cooking onions and garlic. Once the butter has melted, sprinkle the onions with the all-purpose flour and mix well to combine.
- Slowly stir in the chicken broth until combined with the butter and flour. Then pour in the half-and-half. Mix well to combine, and bring to a gentle boil.
- Add the blanched broccoli, cooked bacon, and cooked penne to the pan. Carefully combine with the cream sauce, then sprinkle with the shredded parmesan cheese.
- Return to a simmer then reduce heat to medium-low. Continue to cook for 3-4 minutes or until everything is heated through. Add additional pasta water to thin the sauce as needed.
- Serve with additional Parmesan, if desired.
- For a heavier, creamier pasta, use heavy cream in place of the half-and-half and add up to 2 cups, if desired.
- Not a fan of bacon? Skip it. Just replace the reserved bacon grease with butter.
- Not a fan of broccoli? Replace it with frozen peas or halved cherry tomatoes.
- The onion is optional, leave it out if you'd like.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)