Photo by Nicole Franzen

This pasta dish comes together quickly and easily, but doesn’t fall short on flavor. Fragrant sage combines with butter and Parmesan to create a luscious sauce, which complements the crunchy broccolini. We prefer to use broccolini because it is sweeter, but feel free to substitute any type of broccoli.

4–6 servings
Total Time
30 minutes


    • Kosher salt
    • 2 bunches Broccolini (about 1 pound), ends trimmed, split lengthwise into halves or thirds depending on the thickness (or substitute broccoli rabe or broccoli)
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 pound cavatappi pasta (or your favorite ribbed pasta)
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
    • 15 fresh sage leaves, torn
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with water and ice and set aside.
    2. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and the broccolini to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the Broccolini to the ice water to stop the cooking and let cool. Keep the pot of water boiling for the pasta. Drain the broccolini in a colander, cut the stalks in half crosswise, and set aside.
    3. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add the blanched broccolini, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and sauté until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.Transfer the broccolini to a medium bowl and set aside.
    4. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 2 minutes less than the directions on the package. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta in a colander.
    5. Meanwhile, wipe out the skillet, return it to medium-low heat, and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the sage leaves and cook until the butter turns amber brown and the sage shrivels, 4 to 6 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Stir in the cooked pasta until incorporated, then fold in the broccolini and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water.
    6. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, adding more pasta water until you achieve desired creaminess. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

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