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Rigatoni with Broccoli, Walnuts and Ricotta

Rigatoni with Broccoli, Walnuts and Ricotta
Casey Barber / Casey Barber
Cook Time:
15 mins
Prep Time:
5 mins
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Chef notes

We have three words for you — four-ingredient dinner. Whether you’re trying to eat less meat or just want to get dinner on the table quickly, you’ll love this no-fuss vegetable-packed pasta dish. This vegetarian recipe is reminiscent of pasta with Alfredo sauce, without the same heaviness. 

All of the sauciness in this dish comes from a combination of fresh ricotta cheese and starchy pasta water. As the noodles boil (we like to use a short tubular shape like rigatoni, but use your favorite shape here), they release a lot of starch into the water, which acts as a natural thickening agent. That’s why a lot of recipes will tell you to save some of the cooking liquid before draining the pasta. We also use the pasta water to cook the broccoli and walnuts. The broccoli steam-sautés in a skillet with a splash of pasta water. Walnuts, on the other hand, add a little bit of a meaty texture to the pasta, as well as plenty of flavor. 

If you want to amp up the flavor of this dish even more, you could add some of your favorite spices to the broccoli as it cooks. Fresh or dried garlic, onion powder or a touch of cayenne or red pepper flakes are easy ways to take this pasta dish to the next level. Top each bowl with a big spoonful of ricotta and let it melt into the rest of the sauce before serving. 

Get Ingredients: If you don’t have everything you need on hand, you can easily purchase all of the ingredients (just click the orange button below that says ‘Get Ingredients’). You can pick and choose exactly what ingredients you need based on what’s in your pantry and they’ll be on your doorstep before you know it.


  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 pound rigatoni or other tubular pasta
  • 3 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Fulfilled by



Bring a 6-quart pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Add 1 tablespoon salt to the water and when it dissolves, stir in the rigatoni.


While the rigatoni cooks, add the broccoli to a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat with a splash of the pasta water. Cover and cook the broccoli just until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.


Uncover and add the walnuts, cooking just until warmed and toasted.


When the rigatoni is al dente, add it to the broccoli and walnuts along with 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Taste and add salt as needed.


Divide the pasta between 4 bowls and top each with about 1/4 cup ricotta cheese and a sprinkle of pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.

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