In this post, I’m sharing the recipe to cook Italian-style sautéed broccoli. Basically, this means overcooking the broccoli until mushy and stir-frying it in a pan with garlic and chili flavored olive oil.
Italian-style broccoli is a creamy and aromatic side dish or a delicious pasta condiment.

Italian-style sautéed broccoli recipe

Overcooked Italian Broccoli

In Italy, broccoli and many other greens are usually overcooked. The consistency feels more like a purée with soft lumps than the crunchy bites you experience in many other cuisines. Mushy, avoided in so many recipes, is the keyword to “verdure ripassate,” sautéed vegetables.

You might think some flavor is lost in the process, but that’s not exactly true. Boiling or steaming is just the first step: sautéing in olive oil, previously flavored with garlic and chili, is the next, fundamental, one. 

broccoli florets

How to cook broccoli the Italian way

To make Italian broccoli, you must follow two simple steps: cook the vegetables and sauté them.
To cook them, you may opt for boiling them a few minutes in salted water or steaming them – which I prefer for a great number of reasons: faster, less water consumption, and less healthy components lost in the boiling.
Sautéeing instead means only one thing: flavoring the oil in a pan with garlic and chili. The more you carve the chili, the spicier the dish. Some add dried chili flakes to raise the heat, but that depends on personal taste.
The veggies, which are already overcooked, get to be sautéed for quite a while, constantly stirring. This because the flavors and aromas must permeate every leaf, stem, granule: every bite will be a creamy explosion of exalted-to-the-extreme broccoli flavor.

stir-fried Italian broccoli recipe

Italian-style sauteed broccoli

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 people
Author Claudia Rinaldi


  • 1 small broccoli head
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 red chili - peperoncino
  • extra virgin olive oil


  1. Trim and clean the broccoli. Cut it in medium pieces - about the size of a spoon, stems included.
  2. Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil - about one gallon and a teaspoon of salt. Toss in the veggies and cook them for fifteen minutes; you want them past the fork-tender. Drain them. You can also steam them sprinkled with a pinch of salt.

  3. Mash the garlic clove with the blade of a large knife. Carve the chili to make it release more spiciness.
  4. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan, add the garlic clove and the chili. Sauté until the garlic becomes golden and discard both.
  5. Carefully - you don't want splatters - add the drained broccolini and cook, constantly stirring and medium heat, for about five minutes. You are looking for the flavored oil to envelop every part of the veggies.
  6. That's it, serve hot or room temperature. As a side dish, the ingredient of a warm salad or a delicious condiment of pasta.

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Smoked salmon pasta


Enjoy your Italian-style sautéed broccoli!